Accident at Work: Injury Claim Options
When you have an accident at work, you usually have exactly one way to make an injury claim: through the workers' compensation system. Workers' compensation is an alternative to the tort system, which is what most people think of when they think of accidents. In the tort system, you have to sue a person and prove your case to a jury in court. You have to show that the defendant was negligent and that he somehow did something wrong that caused your injury. None of this is required in a work accident case, and in fact, you cannot go to court since workers' compensation is a compulsory, or required, alternative.
Making a Workers' Compensation Claim
When you make a workers' compensation claim, there are a few requirements that have to be met:
- You must notify your employer of the injury within a certain period. Failure to tell the employer of the event within the required time frame can result in your being unable to make any type of work accident compensation claim at all. This time limit is going to vary based on where you live, so you must find out the rules in your jurisdiction. To be on the safe side, you should submit your notice as soon as possible after you get any type of life-saving or emergency medical care required.
- You must prove your injury arose as a direct result of your job. It is important to note that this does not mean that you are required to prove that it happened at your standard work site. If you normally work in an office but were sent out on an errand to a construction site to deliver papers and were injured at the construction site, this could be considered a work injury. The key will be whether the injury arose out of your job or whether it would not have happened had you not been fulfilling some kind of requirement of your work.
- You must prove the nature and the extent of the injury or injuries with adequate medical records.
Note that there is no requirement or mention of proving negligence. This is because, unlike with traditional torts, workers' compensation is a strict liability system and your employer can be liable absent any negligence on his part.
Getting Legal Help
Making a work injury claim is a complicated process, and you want to do it right since it is your only method of obtaining benefits. Therefore, you should contact a lawyer as soon as you can after a work injury occurs in order to make sure your right to make a claim is protected.