What is the one place most people spend more time in than even their own homes? Even if you discount all those hours staying late at the office when you need to meet deadlines, and consider only the typical 9 to 5 workday, you still spend nearly one-third of your adult life in your workplace.

It is entirely possible then, and common even, for people to pick up an injury while at work. However, what most people fail to realize is that they might be, and often are, entitled to work injury compensation.

To be Injured at the Workplace

The modern workplace, though considerably evolved compared to times past, can still often be hazardous to its employees’ health and well-being. A lot of the times, the potential for injury might be so subtle that you don’t even realize the true cause of it. For example, employees who have sedentary jobs often complain of pain in their lower back, which occurs due to sitting for long hours. What they do not always realize is that their employer can be held responsible for the backache, and indeed, has to pay compensation for it.

It may be failure to provide ergonomic office furniture or to allow enough breaks from work or an extremely demanding and hectic schedule. The chances are, the pain you are experiencing in your back or neck, or even the carpal tunnel syndrome, is a direct result of the conditions provided to you at your workplace by your employer. Therefore, you are completely entitled to seek work injury compensation, and your employer is required by law to pay it to you.

There are, of course, other more obvious causes of injury at workplaces, but they are usually specific to particular job and industry types. The more typical hazards include:
• Working with heavy machinery and equipment in factories.
• Exposure to toxic chemicals and materials in plants.
• Something falling on you at construction sites.
• Inadequate safety precautions, including lack of warning signs.
• Improper safety equipment, such as hard-hats, fire-suits, and steel-toed boots.
• Sub-standard working environment, with inadequate lighting and/or too much noise.
• Lack of cleanliness and hygiene at the workplace.

Workplace accidents involving any of those scenarios can be devastating. If you have suffered an injury at work, you may have experienced the devastation of chronic pain and the loss of life’s simple pleasures, such as a night’s worth of deep, comfortable sleep. In addition, you may also have suffered because of wage loss and unpaid medical bills. Many of these injuries can prove to be life changing. So, no matter what type of workplace accident you have experienced, you should know that the law is on your side, and that you can always consult experienced workers compensation attorneys in such cases.

To Claim Work Injury Compensation

In any workplace, be it pristine law offices, car manufacturing plants, or the local supermarket, the employer is required by law to protect their employees, and to inform them about health and safety issues which might affect them. While you, as an employee, should also take reasonable care for your own health and safety, it is your employer’s obligation to perform regular and thorough risk assessments of the workplace, and undertake any and all measures necessary to ensure the health and safety of all employees and visitors.

Furthermore, employers are required by law to report all workplace incidents and accidents which cause harm or injury to an employee or visitor, and to provide sick pay and adequate time off to all employees so affected. The employer’s obligations are clear, but what should you do in case you suffer an accident at the workplace?

• Ensure that there is a record of the accident. Eye-witness accounts and video evidence is always helpful.
• Make sure your employer has reported the incident to the proper and relevant authorities.
• Consult your employment contract for information about sick pay, days off, and injury compensation.
• In case there is a dispute, try to sort it out first through a reasonable discussion with your employer.
• If the issue cannot be resolved internally, consult a specialist personal injury lawyer about seeking compensation.
In cases where your employer is negligent or refuses to fulfil their legal obligations, you may want to pursue legal action in order to claim your work injury compensation. All such claims must be submitted within three years of the date of the accident, and you would need a specialist lawyer to represent you. The lawyer can help you in various ways, including:
• Determining the settlement value of your claim.
• Figuring out the next step in case your claim is denied.
• Providing legal support if your employer seeks to reduce or deny medical benefits and sick pay.

To Truly Understand Compensation

Injured workers often fail to realize that they may have a third party personal injury claim due to the negligence of an entity other than their employer, in addition to the workers’ compensation case against their employer. In Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation, negligence is not relevant. However, if someone other than the employer was negligent which caused the injury, a viable third party personal injury case exists. A common scenario for third party cases arises in the context of a slip and fall. For example, a truck driver is making a delivery to a customer’s house, and slips and falls on a poorly maintained sidewalk, causing a back injury. The driver then has not only a workers’ compensation claim against his or her employer but also a claim against the homeowner for negligence in failing to maintain the property in a reasonably safe manner.

An injury, at the workplace or elsewhere, is always unfortunate, particularly if it’s a major one, and forces you to take time off work or leaves you in prolonged pain and discomfort. It is only reasonable then, that you be adequately compensated for your suffering and loss in cases where the injury was not your fault, but that of your employer.

AUTHOR: Michael W. Cardamone

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