If you or a loved one were injured while on the job, you may think you’re entitled to compensation. This is a fairly solid assumption, but it’s not always the case. Even if you’re involved in an accident while at your place of employment, your injury may not be work-related — and you may not be entitled to workers’ compensation. By now, you’re likely asking, “Then, what is a work-related injury?” The following information can help you understand.
What Is a Work-Related Injury?
A work-related injury is any harm that results from an illness or injury that’s caused or aggravated due to an incident or exposure in your work environment. This is very similar to the definition offered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and it’s what will typically be considered if you file a workers’ compensation claim. The following are all examples of work-related injuries:
- Slip and fall injuries sustained after tripping on equipment
- Broken bones stemming from an auto accident while transporting a delivery
- Breathing issues caused by exposure to chemical residue while cleaning
- Mental health issues developed due to on-the-job stressors
- Repetitive strain injuries caused by improper lifting techniques
Of course, this list is far from exhaustive. Depending on your industry, potential injurious events can vary significantly. In fact, some dangers faced by professionals in one field may be nonexistent in others. Regardless of the accident or injury type, though, a work-related injury is typically compensable under state law. If you were involved in such an incident in Delaware, you should reach out to a Dover, DE workers’ compensation lawyer to learn more.
What Should You Do After a Work-Related Injury?
After sustaining a work-related injury, the first thing you want to do is report your injury. In most states, this will begin the process of a workers’ compensation claim. Tell your boss or supervisor what happened — even before seeking treatment if it’s safe to do so. Your injury must be documented if you’re going to seek benefits later.
In Delaware, you can choose your own doctor after a work-related injury, but this rule can vary by state. This is why you should take the time to understand your jurisdiction’s workers’ comp rules. Your state government likely has a website that lays out regulations, but you can also get more information by speaking with a personal injury lawyer. In all cases, though, visit a doctor.
What if You’re Denied Delaware Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Since a work-related injury is suffered during the course of your job duties, your employer shouldn’t hesitate to help you seek benefits. Unfortunately, this isn’t always how it plays out. There’s a chance your employer could deny your claim. If this occurs, a countdown begins in which you can file an appeal. In Delaware, this must be done within two years at the Office of Workers’ Compensation.
Keep in mind that a denial of benefits isn’t always wrongful. For instance, an injury sustained at your place of employment while you were on site as a member of the public — rather than an employee — is not a work-related injury. Similarly, symptoms that arise while at work but are related to a non-work accident or exposure are not work-related. There are many other instances just like this, and understanding them might feel overwhelming. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation, and we’ll help clear things up.