Getting injured at work can be very painful, stressful, and frightening. Your thoughts are probably swirling and you likely have many questions, such as:
- How will I pay for my everyday living expenses?
- How will I take my kids to school?
- Will I get fired for sustaining an injury at work?
Fortunately, workers have rights in the United States. These rights help protect you if you’re involved in an accident at work and are left with injuries that you must recover from before you can safely go back to work.
Understanding your rights as an injured worker is important. Here’s what you should know:
Your Rights As An Injured Worker
West Virginia Code Chapter 23 is the section that covers workers’ compensation rights throughout the state. Essentially, workers’ compensation is designed to protect injured workers from going into debt as a result of getting hurt on the job.
If you’re hurt while working in Charleston, you have the right to:
- File a claim for your injury or illness in workers’ compensation court or the state industrial court,
- Visit a doctor and seek medical treatment,
- Return to your job if you are released to start working again by your physician,
- Some type of disability compensation if you are unable to go back to work as a result of your injury or illness,
- Appeal any decision you disagree with made by your employer, their insurance company, or the workers’ compensation court, and
- Be represented by a lawyer throughout the process.
Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that you have the right to say no. For instance, if you are hurt on the job and your employer asks you to file a claim with your own health insurance to pay for the expenses related to your medical care, you are within your rights to say “no” and refuse.
It is unlawful for your boss to offer any type of incentive to try and convince you not to file a workers’ compensation claim. If your boss does this, you are within your rights to say “no.”
You Cannot Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
You have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim without fear of reprisal or harassment from your employer (including termination). If your employer tries to make it more challenging for you to exercise your workers’ compensation rights, your employer can face severe penalties. It is unlawful for your supervisor or another superior to harass you at work or otherwise present obstacles as a result of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
You may fear that your employer will fire you if you try to file a workers’ compensation claim. Please know that this is highly illegal. If you are let go for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you have the right to sue your employer for damages.
Your Rights If a Third Party Injures You At Work
Under certain circumstances, it’s possible for a third party to be responsible for your on-the-job injuries. A third party can include anyone from a designer or manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment, or a delivery truck driver who struck you while you were working.
If a third party injured you at work, you may be able to file a claim against the person or entity. This is referred to as a “third-party claim.” However, these cases aren’t handled by workers’ compensation. A claim of this nature will take the form of a civil lawsuit and should be filed in a state or federal court.
If you’ve been hurt as a result of an on-the-job accident, you may be owed compensation. Our team is highly skilled in this area of the law and has helped many others in similar situations. Let us see if we can help you, too.
Contact the skilled attorneys at Berthold Law Firm, PLLC by calling (304) 605-2040 or by filling out our online contact form.