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Workers Compensation: Your Safety Net


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Workers Compensation: Your Safety Net

You put your heart and soul into your job, so it seems only fair that you should be protected from harm while you’re there. Most good employers do go out of their way to provide safety training and equipment to keep their workers safe and protected from any hazards. Federal agencies, like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also have standards in place for employers to follow to keep their workers safe. However, sometimes accidents happen anyway, and when they do, workers compensation is meant to be your safety net. Most of the time, if you follow your company’s procedures for filing a workers compensation claim, you’ll be paid with no trouble. However, I know from experience that it isn’t always that easy. I started this blog to help you learn what to do when your company or their insurance company denies your workers compensation claim.

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Worker's Comp, Injuries, Lack Of Training And You: The Gray Areas Highlighted

In workers comp cases, there are often some gray areas where it becomes difficult to tell if a legitimate case exists. In fact, your employer could easily argue that you do not have a case at all based on "x, y, z." If you were injured while working on or with machinery, tools, or instruments for which you have no prior knowledge or training, this is one of those gray areas. Here is how you and your lawyer can figure out if you really do have a case.

How Did You Get Injured? 

This may seem like a silly question, since you just told your lawyer why you are there. However, what your lawyer really wants to know are the specifics. Were you trained to use the tools, instruments, or machinery that caused your injury? Did you tell your employer you did not know how to use it safely and correctly? Did your employer ignore you after you said you could not do the task without being trained first? Finally, did your employer or direct supervisor threaten you with loss of your job if you did not "just go do the job"?

If the answers to the above questions are no, yes, yes, and yes, your "gray area" just vaporized and you definitely have a case. If the answer to more than one of the above questions is "no," then you might be walking around in worker's comp fog. Be sure to relate every last detail leading up to the injury, every detail from the injury to filing for worker's comp, and finally, what has happened from being denied your worker's compensation until now. 

Do You Have Witnesses?

As with any other court case, witnesses are huge. Their sworn testimony makes your case strong, but their presence to testify makes your case even stronger. If anyone can attest to your employer's refusal to provide you with adequate training, or to the events leading to the injury itself, ask them to talk to your lawyer on your behalf. If they are worried about losing their jobs out of retaliation by your employer, remind them that employment laws protect them from the retaliation of employers. Additionally, if you can find any other previous employees who were also injured as a result of lack of training, ask them to come forward too. Witnesses remove any trace of "gray area" from a case.

Do You Have a Work History That Shows No Prior Knowledge of the Instrument/Machine Involved?

If you are able, go back to previous employers and ask them for a job description and the duties you performed working those jobs. This will support your claim that you did not know how to use the tools, machinery, etc., and did not have prior training on how to use the item that caused your injury. Then your employer cannot claim that you were hired based on your knowledge of the tool/machine you were expected to use.