It’s every employee’s worst nightmare. One moment it’s business as usual, and the next, you’re in the hospital. It is expected that every employer provide a reasonably safe and healthy environment for their workers. However, in spite of legal requirements to ensure workplaces meet statewide safety standards, workplace accidents still occasionally happen.

Although many employers will attempt to offer an injured worker some type of compensation to dissuade them from taking the case to court, if you have been even temporarily incapacitated due to an on-the-job accident, you are perfectly within your rights to seek legal action. One red flag to watch out for is an employer who tries to encourage you to use your own health insurance to pay for any medical bills. You may wish to do this, if you really want to, but you don’t have to feel like it’s your only option, because it isn’t. You are entitled to representation by a personal injury lawyer.

Learn what constitutes a workplace injury.

It’s important to keep in mind that the term “workplace injury” is fairly broad and can refer to anything from psychological trauma to severe incapacitation. Some incidents might require physiotherapy, psychological counselling, or a costly hospital stay.

America’s leading insurance agencies speculate that while most accidents are random, they are typically preventable. The U.S. Department of Labor also states that some of the most frequently cited Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard violations include protection from falls as well as respiratory protection.

In the worst case scenario, an accident or illness will render you completely unable to work. Some injuries and illnesses are occupational hazards, while others are aggravated by pre-existing conditions. A work injury claim is filed for physical, psychological, and psychiatric injuries and illnesses.

Know your rights. 

Workers’ compensation laws, as well as the legal procedures relating to them, vary drastically by state. Fortunately, every state has a system in place to ensure that workers’ rights are protected. As a general rule, workers have the right to seek medical attention or treatment, to file a claim in workers’ compensation court, the right to be represented by a lawyer, and the right to disability compensation should you find yourself temporarily or permanently unable to work.

Report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. Depending on what has happened, it might not be possible for you to report the incident on the same day it occurred or even the day after. But most states require you to report your injury within a few days following the incident.

Find a work injury lawyer to advocate for you. 

After the informal report has been made, you are expected to file a formal report in the form of a work injury claim with the workers’ compensation court or industrial court. Reporting it as soon as possible will alert your employer and their insurance company to the situation. Again, the earlier they are aware of the incident, the better.

The final and most important step to take is to contact a personal injury lawyer to help you through the process. Once your claim is filed, you are entitled to an attorney to help you navigate the complex and lengthy process. Reliable and dedicated worker’s compensation lawyers will advocate for you and help you build a case against your employer or any third party who may have been responsible for the accident. Occasionally, these third parties are designers or manufacturers who constructed a faulty piece of equipment. If this is found to be the case, your claim will be moved out of the workers’ compensation court and into the civil court.