How to Begin a Worker’s Compensation Claim


Hundreds of thousands of people are injured on the job each year. Worker’s compensation is a safety net for workers that are injured in the workplace. It provides coverage for things like injury-related medical expenses and lost wages. Employees that are injured on the job can follow a few simple steps to begin their claim and get the legal protection that they deserve.

It’s The Law

The Workers Compensation Act provides certain legal protections for employees that are injured on the job. It provides death benefits to dependents of the worker, rehabilitation education in case the employee cannot return to their prior position, income protection if seven days or more are missed from work, and more. Employers are expected to provide a safe workplace.

An employer cannot fire you for filing a worker’s compensation claim. An employer has a legal obligation to support the employee if they are injured on the job by honoring the employee’s doctors’ orders. For example, if you are injured and your doctor puts in writing that you must rest for 10 days at home, your employer must honor that. If the doctor reports that you can no longer do any heavy lifting, your employer has to honor that. As an employee, you have legal protection beginning when you file your claim.

Step One

As an employee, you have a legal obligation to notify your employer as soon as you are injured. There are many different injuries that can be sustained in the workplace. For example, around 64% of injuries are incurred by employees on a hazardous pipeline. Slip and fall accidents occur fairly frequently in factories. Construction injuries from equipment failure is another big cause of workplace injuries.

No matter what caused the injury, the first step in opening a worker’s compensation claim is to notify your immediate supervisor of the injury. Provide as much detail as possible.

Step Two

Get medical attention, and follow doctor’s orders. Many employees make the mistake of feeling pressure by the employer not to get medical care or follow through with the doctor’s orders. Remember you cannot be fired for being injured on the job in most cases. The only way you can be fired is if you are under the influence of illegal substances when you are injured.

Follow up with the doctor and provide any doctor’s notes or reports to your employer’s HR office. It is important that you document every visit to the doctor.

Step Three

Consult with a legal expert. Not saying that all employers will fight a worker’s compensation claim, but some employers will. Some employers will try to turn the tables on the employee and fight back saying that the injury did not happen at work, or that the employee’s own negligence brought on the injury.

A lawyer with workers’ compensation experience can provide you with legal advice to support your claim. There are steps that employers are supposed to take that many employees are unaware of to protect workers. For example, a little-known law is the NFPA25 code. This legal requirement is built to ensure that fire protection equipment is regularly inspected in commercial buildings to protect people in the building. Fire protection systems have to be inspected monthly, quarterly, at the half-year point, every year, and at the five-year and ten-year marks as well. There is a slew of testing that must be done under the law. Employees typically are not aware of this law but a legal expert and the employer would be.

Worker’s compensation laws are, unfortunately, often exploited by employers, they look for loopholes, and will fight the claim. A legal expert evens the playing field for the employee. A well-seasoned lawyer can help you navigate your worker’s compensation claim and get the compensation that you deserve. Most people choose to hire an attorney to fight their compensation claims for them. Get the legal help you need to ensure your rights are protected.