Working on a construction site comes with it’s fair share of danger. Between heavy machinery, welding, beams, building from a harness, and so much more… there are plenty of potential construction work injuries that doctor’s offices see each year. OSHA works diligently to create safety regulations that can prevent workplace accidents. Furthermore, each company may also include their own safety protocol in tandem with OSHA’s. However, due to the nature of the job, there is always present danger. In the event that you suffer from a construction work injury, it’s important that you follow the following steps…
Construction Work Injuries: What to Do After Being Hurt
Seek medical attention
Due to the serious nature of these accidents, it is important to seek medical help quickly. In the case of most work related accidents, you want to report it to someone before seeing a doctor. While this is still true of construction site injuries, still act within reason. In the case of an emergency, get help quickly. If it is not an emergency, report the accident to your site supervisor right away. Either way, if injured on the job— worker’s compensation should be covering that injury. So, if your injury is quite severe, don’t hesitate. Get help immediately.
Report your injury
As we’ve said, this step is interchangeable with the first one depending on severity. So, either way, report the injury as soon as possible— whatever that means in your case. The most important thing is that you’re safe, and as soon as you are, go to your employer or site manager and create a record of your injury. Write down the specifics, create the report, and ask questions. I’m sure you have plenty, especially about the cost of treatment. Ask about your employer’s worker’s compensation benefits and insurance. Stay in the know during this entire process.
If there was anyone around to see what happened, get their names and contact information. They can become a vital portion of proving your case if your employer tries to dispute it.
Preserve the evidence
If there is any evidence of your accident, try to preserve it. For example, if you were hit with something, take photos, keep what hit you, if there is blood on the floor— anything at all that can be helpful to your case and claim, it’s important that you have that to refer back to.
Knowing How To Act on Your Case
Construction work injuries can be very common, however we never expect to be the victim. If you find yourself in a workplace accident, it’s important that you know what steps to take to protect yourself. While your employer might be readily available to help you, and make sure you’re covered— that’s not always the case. Therefore, you should know your rights, know how to ensure your own safety, and what to do if something does happen.
A worker’s compensation claim can be filed for any number of reasons. In short, it it’s a result of your job, whether a broken bone, ankle sprain, or even a disease— you can file a claim. While a broken bone or sprain is fairly easy to treat, a disease is something that doesn’t go away quite as easily. For this reason, occupational disease claims are much more rare, serious, costly, and more lenient on timeline.
Occupational Disease Claims: A Rare, Yet Serious Occurrence
How do you contract an occupational disease?
An occupational disease (we’ll call them OD’s for short) occurs due to ‘work-related exposure,’ to any number of things. From dust, gases, radiation, fumes, extreme changes in pressure, radiation— any experience that can cause long-lasting effects. There is a complete list of occupational diseases you can look at here. But, a few strong examples are: bronchitis, mercury poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, or loss of hearing.
What is the statute or limitations for occupational disease?
Being that OD’s are less common, and can occur at any period of time after exposure, the statute on these claims is two years from the time you visit the doctor.
How do you, as an employer, minimize these claims?
While an OD claim is a bit more difficult to fake than, say, a broken ankle— there will still be an attempt at some point in time. So, what can you do as an employer to ensure fewer claims? But, also, what can you do as an employer to minimize the risk? For starters, you can require medical exams for each employee before hire, as well as annual exams. This might seem like a costly thing to do. But, an OD claim will likely be much more costly.
To prevent OD claims, consider providing a ‘health and safety in the work place’ course once every six months, or year. Having well-educated workers when it comes to safety precautions can prevent many injuries. Not to mention, proper supervision of the working environment can make a large difference. Accidents do happen, and inevitably— some will. But doing your part to keep workers aware of safety measures, you can make a big difference.
Loss of trade compensation, in terms of worker’s comp, refer to compensation paid out to a worker that can no longer fulfill their work duties as a result of an accident. Trade compensation is a type of worker’s comp benefit to assist those in this specific case. But how exactly can an employer compensate you for a loss of ability? What exactly does that entail? Every case is different. But, depending on the details of yours, you may qualify. But first, let’s get familiar with them..
Loss of Trade Compensation: Payment for Permanent Injury
Take for example, an employee who suffers a back injury while working on a construction site. After going to therapy, he is able to regain most of his movement and strength back. But even after improving, the demands of his job are too high for the condition of his body. So, it’s time to find a new field of work. So, the worker must renovate his resume and begin fielding jobs. After countless applications, this person is able to accept an office job working as a customer sales representative. This job is much more suitable to the condition his back is now in. But, the salary is not quite as much as it might’ve been if he was able to keep his construction job.
In an instance such as this, that former employee might be able to receive those loss of trade compensation benefits. These benefits are designed to make up the difference in salary that may come when switching jobs due to injury. In the event that they physically must change their position, these benefits cover the loss in pay.
What Are the Guidelines?
These types of benefits are typically only for permanent situations. In short, if you will never be able to fulfill those old job requirements again, these benefits will be made available to you. The standard for these types of benefits, is the same 2/3 of your wage loss that we see in traditional worker’s comp claims. So, to make it simple: you will receive two-thirds of the difference between your previous salary and your current wages.
The thing to remember is that when you face injury on the job, you have options as for how to get back on your feet— and get back to the same level of financial stability that you had before the accident. Every case is different, as are your options. So, let’s explore them together and find the best result for you. A serious injury is difficult, as if fighting for benefits, but you don’t have to fight alone.
Getting back to work after a work injury can be difficult, painful, and time consuming. Furthermore, you’re likely wondering what the requirements are for returning to work. Who do I have to tell? Will I still receive necessary medical care? And can I request light duty? Making your work return after an injury can be a difficult process. But we’re here to answer questions, and help make sense of it all.
Making your Work Return after Work Injury: What Do I Need to Know?
After an accident or illness on the job, making your work return can be stressful. However, a doctor may release you to begin light duty. While the pain may be manageable, it may still be there. That means, at times, even light duty work responsibilities may still leave you hurting. Furthermore, there is also a chance you may not be returning to the same job or position. In that case you will have the stress of learning a new position and developing a new routine. In the midst of these stressful issues, you may also have questions about workers comp.
Compensation for lost time
After you go back to work, you may still miss some days due to you injury or illness. For instance, doctor’s appointments and therapy session may be a cause of missing time. In addition, just being in pain or sick may require you to stay out of work. In that case, you may be able to receive worker’s comp for that lost time even after returning to light duty, or standard, work.
Keeping your previous job open
Your employer does not have to keep your job open. However, a lot of employers will take you back when you can return for light duty. Therefore, it may be a good idea to keep in contact with your employer throughout your injury process. Keep them updated, ask about your position, and make preparations for your return.
Who you should tell?
Before you feel ready to return to work, or when the doctor gives the all clear, it’s important to make your employer aware and begin making preparations. Furthermore, once you return to work, you must notify the Worker’s Compensation Board. Lastly, the insurance carrier that is paying your medical bills should be made aware as well.
Understanding Your Benefits
Returning to work can be a challenging, but understanding your benefits and responsibilities— makes the process that much smoother. While unfortunate, it can be very easy to be denied benefits, or taken advantage of, during the worker’s compensation process. If you feel that you fall into that category, reach out to an attorney today. Dealing with a work injury is difficult enough already, don’t lose out on your benefits, or position, as well.
When it comes to worker’s compensation claims, your employer and their insurer likely try to avoid them at all costs. After all, these claims can be costly, time consuming, and they’re losing an employee for some amount of time. For these reasons, among others, many employers discourage worker’s comp claims. There are plenty of different ways that they might do this. So, we’re going to try and make you aware of a few methods they might use to discourage you, or make you think twice, about filing that claim..
How Employers Discourage Worker’s Comp Claims and Make You Think Twice Before Filing
Fraudulent claims are particulate pesky for employer’s. For that reason, many employers might install surveillance cameras. That way, if any accidents do happen (or they suspect a false claim), they’ll be able to watch the actual event and see for themselves. Although, there can be many motives behind an employer recording their employees. One way that this can discourage worker’s comp claims, is because it gives the impression that your employer doesn’t trust you. Therefore, you might try to avoid filing as a means of staying outside of the microscope.
Post-Injury Drug Testing
By making it a known fact that after an injury, you will be drug tested, many people might avoid filing as well. The idea of drug testing, like surveillance, can be quite discouraging to most employees. It seems that, even those who do not use any type of drugs, are still put off by the idea of a drug test and have an irrational fear of not passing. Therefore, the worry is not only not having your injury covered, but also getting fired. For these reasons, many employees will avoid filing a claim and bringing attention to themselves.
Incentive-Based Safety Programs
I’m sure you’ve heard of some companies, or even your own, that offers celebrations, prizes, and etc. for reaching certain safety goals. For example, if your boss throws a party after every 100 days that are accident-free. While this might seem innocent enough, and maybe it is, it can also be a great way to deter injured workers from reporting their injury. When there are incentives on the line, it can put a lot of pressure on an employee to keep their injury to themselves. After all, you don’t want to lose their work perks. Furthermore, they don’t want their co-workers to blame them for a loss of privileges.
In short, employers discourage worker’s comp claims from time to time for a number of reasons. However, this should not stop you from seeking medical assistance when you need it. While work incentives are nice, and drug tests can be daunting— your injury is more important than these concerns. If you’re fearing retribution, or a denial of your comp claims, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney. That way, you’ll know what to expect from this process. We wish you luck with your injury, and extend our condolences for this difficult time.
If you face a work injury, and file a worker’s compensation claim, there are a few steps that you might have to take to verify the injury, as well as the treatment plan. For the most part, there will likely be a designated doctor that the employer will send all injured worker’s to. However, on some occasions, you or your employer might seek out an independent medical exam to assess the injury. While a second opinion can bring a lot of different issues to light, your reasoning, and your employer’s, might be a bit different….
Independent Medical Exam: Why You, or Your Employer, Might Want One
Why you might seek one out:
If you’re the one who decides to get a second opinion, you have certain reasons for doing so. Maybe you feel that the provided medical professional isn’t reporting the full scope of injury, maybe you doubt their findings, or you’re just curious. It’s important to understand that if you decide to have this exam without having a hearing to ask the commission to order one, that this will come out of your own pocket. However, having that second— maybe a little less biased opinion, could be more helpful to your getting proper treatment.
Why your employer might seek this out:
For the most part, these visits offer a second opinion on the seriousness of your injury. Having a second opinion can be extremely helpful to your case, and healing process. However, sometimes, it can be counterproductive. Being that the company hired and paid the doctor to perform this independent medical exam, that doctor may potentially fall on the company’s side and minimize the injury report as a result.
It’s important to realize that every employer might not do this, however it’s important to understand that they might have their best in mind rather than yours. Every company, and employer, will not react in this way. However, it’s important to stay on top of your claim, and your health. Furthermore, seek out a personal injury attorney if you have a serious injury. While a simple sprained wrist might not be worth consulting a lawyer, if you’re facing serious bodily harm— you need added protection.
Do I have to go?
In the event that you receive a letter calling for you to attend an independent medical exam (or IME), yes. By law, you must go. It is an employer’s right to have a doctor of their choice examine the wound. So, to make sure you get all of the benefits associated with a worker’s compensation claim, you must cooperate.
Will It Affect My Case?
Since employer’s will want you back at work, it is possible a doctor from your IME may release you back to duty. In that case, the insurance company may deny paying your benefits on the basis of this doctor’s release. But in truth, you may not be physically ready to return to work. In this specific instance, you might need to start fighting for your claim. That’s where we come in. If an employer is using this exam as a means to deny your claim, make the call. Your health and healing should be of the upmost importance to your employer. But, when it’s not, you have to find someone who will treat it that way. So, you focus on getting healthy, and we’ll focus on the rest.