When the struggle for workers’ rights began in America, an understanding began to emerge that workplace injuries didn’t only affect the well-being of individual employees. They have the potential to affect workers, their families, their extended loved ones and entire communities. Partially due to the consequential nature of work-related harm, the workers’ compensation system was created.
For a variety of reasons – including valid concerns that employers would otherwise seek to minimize liability by playing the blame game – workers’ comp is not a fault-based system. Instead, part-time and full-time employees who are covered by workers’ compensation insurance are broadly entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
With only a few notable exceptions – including attempts to sustain injuries on purpose in an effort to defraud the system – eligible private and public sector workers are entitled to when they are injured or develop occupational illnesses, regardless of who or what caused that harm. As long as the harm in question occurred while an employee was engaged in work-related activities, they are generally entitled to benefits.
Taking timely action is imperative
There are few legal situations in the U.S. that are as time-sensitive as the workers’ compensation application process. In many states, if a worker doesn’t take specific steps within just a few days of sustaining harm, they are ultimately barred from pursuing benefits that would otherwise be rightfully theirs. As a result, it is imperative that all injured workers act quickly to assess their rights and preserve their options.
If you work for a living, it is important to understand your legal rights. If you’re eligible for workers’ compensation and you suffer physical harm while engaged in work-related activities, it is time to start researching whether you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If you are, you’ll need to act quickly to preserve your right to receive fairly-valued compensation.