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4 things employees need to know about workers' comp

Injury and illness are always frightening, but when they could prevent you from earning an income, they can be terrifying. Fortunately, if you are injured while working at the factory, workers' compensation can protect you with medical, treatment and income benefits.

Do you know the basics of workers' compensation? Unfortunately, factory work can be dangerous, so it is important for all workers to understand how workers' compensation works in case you, or a friend at work, ever need to file a claim. Below are four key aspects of workers' compensation that all factory workers should understand.

  1. Timing is important. You should immediately report a workplace accident to your employer. Some employees wait to see if they will naturally heal over time. Waiting can cause you to lose your right to workers' compensation benefits. Injuries due to a workplace accident need to be reported within 30 days of the accident or you could lose your right to compensation benefits.
  2. Workers' compensation takes the place of filing a lawsuit against your employer. Workers' compensation was designed to aid injured employees, and to protect employers from facing lawsuits that they might not be able to afford. Think of it as insurance coverage that benefits both parties. However, you may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party that is responsible for your injury. For example: you may be able to file a lawsuit against a product manufacturer who created the faulty piece of equipment that led to your injury.
  3. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing workers' compensation. If you are injured at work, speak up immediately. Many employees worry that their employers will retaliate against them if they file for workers' compensation. Legally, your employer may not punish you in any way for filing a claim. If your employer discharges you because of a claim, you may bring a civil action against them for "retaliatory discharge."
  4. You may be entitled to lifetime benefits. Your benefit amount and duration depend upon your individual case. Some workplace related injuries may permanently affect your ability to work and require lifetime medical attention. If your injury occurred on or before June 30, 2013 you are entitled to lifetime benefits. If your injury occurred on or after July 1, 2013 your medical treatment is limited to up to 400 weeks past the injury date. However, if your injury is severe, you may still be able to receive lifetime benefits.

If you have trouble securing workers' compensation benefits after an accident, or your employer retaliates against you for filing a claim, contact an attorney who can fight for your right to compensation.

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