Did you know that occupational injuries and illnesses cost the U.S. about $250 billion every year? This surprisingly high figure has suggested to many that the U.S. should be trying harder to reduce the risk of work-related injuries and illnesses. As J. Paul Leigh, a professor of public health sciences at UC Davis points out, “It’s unfortunate that occupational health doesn’t get the attention it deserves… the costs are enormous and continue to grow.”
If you find yourself injured in the workplace, you might be wondering what sort of rights protect you so that you can pay your medical bills and any bills associated with a potential inability to work. Here are a few legal facts worth knowing, that might apply to your case.
1. The “Must Arise Out Of” Clause
In several states, such as Vermont, an injury has to arise out of an act of employment in order to be considered eligible. In the case of Foley v. Smugglers’ Notch, Foley noticed a fellow employee, Brandon Bates, driving away a golf cart when he was not allowed to do so. Foley jumped onto the cart, trying to stop him — Bates was intoxicated and the golf cart overturned, injuring Foley’s leg. The court decided that, even though it took place off work premises, Foley deserved workers’ compensation because he jumped on the golf cart in the interest of his employers, and because his job was to be responsible for the carts.
2. Can I Receive Compensation if I Failed to Report My Workplace Injury?
It’s not unusual for people to not realize they’ve been seriously injured until later in the day, or week. A sore ankle, instead of getting better, turns out to need a doctor’s care — a fall on the back ends up in disability. Although it can be harder to establish workplace disability without a record of the incident, it isn’t impossible. Your best bet in this case is definitely to hire a workers compensation attorney who can advise you on the best course forward.
3. After Getting Hurt at Work, I got Compensation, but Now my Boss is Spying on Me
Anchorage Daily News reports that after having after sustaining an injury, one area resident noticed that her employer was spying on her in different locations — and he then demanded access to her Facebook posts. She wanted to know — is this legal? Some courts have ruled that employees have a reduced privacy expectation after filing workers compensation claims. Not all states have yet prohibited employers from asking for access to social media websites. Most, in fact, allow employers access if it relates to potential “work related employee misconduct.” This is one reason you should never lie about your injuries — employers can and do check up to make sure your claims are true.
Have you had to deal with workers compensation attorneys? Let us know in the comments. Read more blogs like this.