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Understanding Workers’ Rights: What To Do If You’re Injured On The Job

As an ecommerce business owner, understanding workers’ rights is crucial to creating a fair, ethical, and legally compliant workplace that not only protects your employees but also safeguards your company’s reputation and long-term success in today’s socially conscious market.

When we head to work, we think about the projects we need to complete and the tasks ahead.

We don’t think about the possibility of getting injured, that’s for sure.

Yet, it happens more often than you think – to anyone, at any time, regardless of the industry and the job they’re doing.

If it happened to you, too, you need to know your rights and the steps you need to take to ensure your well-being and receive all the benefits you’re entitled to in case of a workplace injury.

This article is designed to guide you through the workers’ compensation claim process and tell you when to seek legal help.

Keep reading to learn more.

Key Takeaways

  • Ecommerce business owners must understand and comply with various labor laws, including minimum wage, overtime pay, and break requirements, to create a fair and legally compliant workplace.
  • Classifying workers correctly as employees or independent contractors is crucial to avoid legal issues and ensure workers receive appropriate benefits and protections.
  • Providing a safe and healthy work environment, free from discrimination and harassment, is not only a legal obligation but also essential for maintaining a positive company culture and reputation.
  • Clearly communicating company policies, expectations, and workers’ rights through employee handbooks and regular training sessions can help prevent misunderstandings and legal disputes.
  • Staying informed about updates to labor laws and seeking guidance from legal professionals when needed can help ecommerce businesses navigate the complexities of compliance and protect their employees’ rights.

1. Common Workplace Injuries and Workers’ Rights

Whether your workplace injury comes from a minor cut or a more severe condition like broken bones, you are entitled to certain legal (and non-legal!) rights.

You are entitled to these rights in cases of injuries caused by:

  • Overexertion (e.g., if you lifted a heavy object at a warehouse and suffered a back injury)
  • Equipment and other objects at work (e.g., if your hand got caught in the machinery at a construction site)
  • Exposure to harmful substances (e.g., if you suffered a chemical burn at a lab)
  • Vehicle accidents (e.g., if you got into a car accident while making a delivery)
  • Another person or animal (e.g., if you got physically attacked by a customer at a retail store).

As you can see, there are plenty of ways workplace injuries can occur, and each of them gives you the right to:

  • Seek medical attention for your injury without delay.
  • Report the workplace injury without retaliation or discrimination from your employer.
  • Pursue workers’ compensation and other compensations (e.g., disability compensation) to cover medical expenses and lost wages.
  • Seek legal representation if filing a lawsuit is necessary.
  • Return to work after recovery, should you want to.

Note: Don’t forget to document the injury and any related expenses or time off work, as this information will be crucial when seeking compensation. 

Also, if you believe that your employer is not providing the necessary support or is retaliating against you for reporting an injury, find out here how to take legal action against them.

2. Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury

After seeking medical attention and reporting the injury to your supervisor or manager (and you should do this as soon as possible), start working on documenting your injury and the details surrounding it.

In other words, write down where, when, and how the injury happened. 

Take photos and videos of the area and your injuries, and consider whether there were any witnesses to what happened. If there were, write down their names and contact information, as their testimonies could support your account of the incident.

Then, and only then, move on to filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Ask your employer to provide you with the claim form, which they must complete within one working day after learning about your injury. Alternatively, you can download it from the DWC website.

Once you have the form, you must complete only the employee section, sign it, and date it. And, of course, keep a copy for yourself while sending the other to your employer (with proof that you did it).

After that, you wait.

The insurance company will soon mail you about the status of your claim, and in the meantime, your employer will have to authorize appropriate medical treatment for you.

And remember: taking timely action is the most important thing you can do now.

3. Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Assistance

The point of workers’ compensation benefits is to ensure that you aren’t left to deal with the financial fallout of your workplace injuries alone. 

First of all, these benefits should cover all the necessary medical treatments related to your work injury, including your:

  • hospital care
  • medical supplies
  • prescription drugs
  • dental work
  • travel expenses to and from medical appointments

Next, they should cover a percentage of the earnings you lost due to being unable to work due to your workplace injury. 

If your injury results in a disability or requires rehabilitation, workers’ compensation will also cover the loss of your earning capacity and physical therapy expenses.

Lastly, suppose you’re reading this article because your loved one suffered a work-related injury and lost their life as a result, as their dependent. In that case, you may be entitled to death benefits such as funeral expenses and financial support.

Contact a personal injury attorney to know the full benefits available to you.

4. When to Seek Legal Help for Workers’ Compensation

In some cases, handling workers’ compensation claims will be straightforward, and legal assistance will not be necessary.

Those situations may involve instances when a worker suffers a minor injury, doesn’t need to miss any work, and the employer acknowledges that the injury indeed did occur.

Having a trusting lawyer by your side will be invaluable in other cases.

For example, if the employer or the insurance company denies your claim and refuses to pay out, or if you’ve got a complex case with severe injuries going on for you, acting on your own is not advisable.

If that’s what’s happening with you, start with a free consultation. During this consultation, a lawyer will assess your case and advise you on the best action.

Then, if your lawyer deems the case promising, hire them to represent you in all dealings with your employer and the insurance company.

They may try to negotiate on your behalf to avoid going to court, or they may take your case to a hearing or a trial.

Whichever option is more suitable for your circumstances, one thing is sure: having a lawyer guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf will make everything much easier.

Conclusion

To wrap this up, understanding workers’ rights in cases of workplace injuries is more than just procedural know-how.

It’s about you taking control of your situation and ensuring you receive the benefits you’re entitled to.

And don’t forget: Your path to recovery and compensation doesn’t need to be long, lonely, and uncertain. 

There are systems in place to support you and legal avenues out there, should you need them.

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