Workers’ compensation benefits can be a lifeline for employees injured on the job, particularly if they are temporarily or permanently unable to return to work. Most employers offer some form of workers’ comp insurance, but getting access to the benefits you deserve involves a lengthy and at times complicated claims process. One of the most important things to prove when you file your claim is that the injury happened while you were on the job. Without this crucial point, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will not have to pay you a dime.
Employers and their insurers are out to protect their bottom line, and this can cause them to dispute your account of what happened, especially if they think they can prove your injury did not occur at work. At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., L.P.A., we fight for the compensation our clients need and deserve for their workplace injuries. With that in mind, here are some tips for proving that your injury happened at work.
Evidence to Help Prove Your Injury Is Work-Related
Evidence will be a vital part of your workers’ compensation claim. There are several pieces of evidence you can gather immediately after your workplace accident. Here are some of the types of evidence you can use to prove that your injury was work-related:
- Pictures of the scene and your injuries
- Witness reports
- Time reports showing that you were clocked in at the time of the accident
- Maintenance reports of equipment involved in the accident
- Documentation from your doctor
- Any records of your or anyone else’s formal report of the accident to the employer
With this type of evidence in hand, you will be well on your way to proving that the accident occurred on the job. However, your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer may still try to undermine your account of what happened to avoid paying you the compensation you need. So it is crucial to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side to protect your rights throughout the process.
Defenses Your Employer Might Use to Say Your Injury Isn’t Work-Related
Many employers and insurance companies simply don’t want to shell out for your injuries. Your employer might decide to throw a great amount of energy and resources into discrediting you. Here are some of the defenses an employer or insurance company might try to use to say your injury wasn’t work-related:
- You may have been present at the facility, but you were not working at the time.
- You were using equipment in a mischievous or unauthorized way instead of following protocol.
- You were drunk or on drugs at the time of the accident.
- You waited too long to report the alleged accident.
- Your injury was a pre-existing condition.
There are ways to combat these and other defenses, but you will need the evidence on your side. Employers and their insurers have a huge amount of resources at their disposal, and they will likely conduct their own investigation to try to discredit your account. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you put your evidence together into a strong case and fight back against bogus defenses from your employer.
What to Do If You Are Injured on the Job
Any time you are injured, your body’s fight-or-flight instinct is likely to kick in, and everything may seem like it’s in a haze. However, if you can remember to take these steps, you will have a better chance of successfully pursuing a workers’ compensation claim for your injuries:
- Call for help. Unless you work in a totally isolated environment, you should be able to get other employees on the scene to help you. Your coworkers can call 911 if you are unable to, and they will be able to serve as witnesses later.
- Call 911, if necessary. If your injuries are severe and you need to go to the emergency room, call 911. It is better to be safe than sorry, and if you leave serious injuries untreated when you need emergency medical attention, your situation will only get worse. If your workplace has a nurse or doctor on duty, you may go to them. Even if you don’t require emergency medical treatment, you should get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
- Gather evidence. If you are not immediately rushed to the hospital, you should start gathering evidence right away. Take pictures of your injuries and of any equipment involved, along with the rest of the scene. Ask your coworkers to record witness statements.
- Report the accident to your employer. You should formally report the accident to your employer as soon as possible. If you fail to do so, they might use that against you in arguing that the accident did not take place on the job.
- Follow all medical instructions.Be sure to attend all follow-up doctor’s appointments and follow their instructions, such as taking medication and limiting physical activity. This will show that you are taking your injury and your treatment seriously.
- Save all documentation and receipts. Keep all paperwork related to your injury, including medical bills, accident reports, etc. All this will be helpful in building your claim.
After you have taken all of these immediate steps, you should contact an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer from Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., L.P.A.,to help you get your claim in order for full and fair benefits.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Northeastern Ohio Today
Recovering from a workplace injury can be a stressful time in your life, especially if your employer goes out of its way to make the process difficult. In addition to the pain of your injuries and the cost of your medical malpractice, you may now be in a hostile relationship with a company for which you’ve worked hard for years. You don’t have to face this time alone.
The Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers of Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., L.P.A., can help you fight back. With years of experience fighting for injured workers in Northeastern Ohio, including Youngstown, Akron, Warren, Salem, Ravenna, Kent, and Alliance, we have the know-how to build a strong case with solid evidence. For more information on how we can help with your workers’ compensation claim, contact us now for a free consultation.
Steven D. Maas grew up in Newton Falls, Ohio, and worked in the steel mills as a young man. It was there where he decided that he wanted to become a lawyer who would help working people. After earning is undergraduate degree from Ashland College and his law degree from the Wake Forest University School of Law, Steven has stuck to that mission by concentrating his practice in the area of workers’ compensation law over the course of his 35-year career. In addition to his legal practice, Steven serves as an Acting Judge in the Newton Falls Municipal Court, actively belongs to several bar organizations and contributes to the Diabetes Association by participating in fund-raising bicycle rides. However, his main passion is operating his family’s 250-acre farm in Newton Falls.