Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What You Need to Know If You're Injured At Work

If you are injured at work, you probably can’t sue your employer. Instead, you’ll likely have to make a worker’s compensation (worker’s comp) claim. An employer who carries worker’s comp insurance is mostly immune for suits for workplace injuries.

Intentional injuries:
assault, battery, defamation, and other intentional torts are usually not covered by worker’s comp.

Coworker liability: your coworkers are also likely immune from suit for workplace injuries if the employer has workers comp insurance. However, they could be personally liable for assault, battery, defamation and other intentional torts.

Making claims: you need to follow the employer’s claim procedure for worker’s comp claims. This usually means that you need to report the injury to your supervisor and they need to prepare an injury to report to file with the state worker’s compensation board. You need to notify them as soon as possible, providing the date of injury, witnesses, and how the injury happened.

Light duty: if your company has light duty, they may have to provide it to you and you will be able to get worker’s comp benefits that make up the difference. But many employers will deny that they have light duty and then you may lose coverage because you’re able to work. It’s important to speak with a worker’s comp attorney before you try to go back to light duty.

if the injury happens at work or is related to work, such as when you’re running an errand for work, then it should be covered if it was an accident.
Retaliation: generally, your employer can’t retaliate against you for making a worker’s comp claim.

Donna’s tips:

a. Don’t delay if you’re injured. If you wait months before making the claim, your employer may not believe that you were injured at work. The sooner you make your claim, the better your witnesses’ memories will be.

b. Workers’ comp requirements are tough to navigate sometimes. If you have a serious injury, you probably need to talk to a worker’s comp attorney.

So, have you been injured at work? Were you retaliated against? How? Are you an attorney who has handled cases involving retaliation for making worker's comp claims? Did you get reinstated? Did the employer end up paying your lost wages? Did the legal system work or does it need fixing in this type of case? What needs fixing and how would you fix it? I'd love to hear about your experiences, good and bad.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Good work on elaborating on these cases. Whenever you get involved in an accident at work, you should report it immediately to your superiors within that day, so that it would be easier for them to believe that you did get injured at work. Well, you should also be aware about your rights and benefits for the company that you’re working for.

    Allan Kenan

  3. I believe my manager may be targeting me because I was injured at work. I've noticed a change in behavior and it was witnessed by several other coworkers. I have not been fired yet, I took vacation/sick time when I needed to and am back at work now. What would you suggest I do? Thanks!

  4. It sounds like a potential worker's compensation retaliation claim. You might want to make a formal, written complaint of worker's compensation retaliation to HR and let them know what is happening. The worker's compensation adjuster will sometimes also step in and help. If you are fired, talk to an employment lawyer in your state about bringing a potential claim.

  5. I definitely agree with you, Donna! Some employees are afraid to claim compensation when they are injured at work, thinking that their employers will fire them instead. That shouldn’t be the case, anyway. Going after work compensation is just one of the many benefits an employee has the right to claim. An employee should, then, legally file a report about the injury for it to be valid.

    Cristy Witherspoon

  6. Hi, nice post. This is an interesting and very informative topic. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Good blogs style too, can't wait to read another one like this. Cheers!
    workmans comp attorney manchester nh

  7. Workers compensation can also be denied if you got injured by operating machinery which you are not authorized to use, or being in an area that you have no clearance to be in. A case that involves one of those situations comes up every once in a while, most companies have labels and instructions for such situations. Remember your safety is your responsibility, and it is your responsibility to adhere to company policy.

    Eric | http://www.workerscompensationvermont.com


I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.