Is Your Employer Responsible for Your Workplace Accident?
Accidents can occur in any workplace, from construction zones to retail stores. In most cases, employees are covered by workers’ compensation, which is an insurance program that most employers carry. This means that if you sustain a workplace injury near San Jose, it is likely that you can receive a portion of your lost wages and related medical care at no cost to you. Although litigation is usually not necessary in workplace injury cases, it can be helpful to consult a workers’ compensation attorney about your claim.
Safety Rights of Employees
Every employee is afforded certain safety rights in the workplace. A workers’ compensation attorney can review your case to determine if your safety rights may have been violated. Under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, employers are responsible for ensuring that the workplace conforms to OSHA standards, the workplace is free of serious hazards, and employees have the proper training and safety equipment. In limited cases, injured employees may be able to file a lawsuit against negligent employers or third parties.
Insurance Obligations of Employers
Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, which is another reason why it’s best to consult an attorney. In general, however, employers with a certain number of employees are required to carry a minimum amount of workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation covers medical expenses pertaining to workplace injuries, including diagnostic tests, medications, and medical treatments. If the employee must miss time at work, he or she can be compensated for a percentage of those lost wages. As you might expect, workplace injury claims typically arise from injuries sustained directly within the workplace. However, an injury might also be covered if it is sustained while an employee is on company business outside of the workplace. Illnesses, such as respiratory diseases caused by breathing in toxic fumes, may also be covered.
Exceptions to Workers’ Compensation
Not every injury is covered under workers’ compensation. Even if an injury was sustained in the workplace, it may not be covered if it was found to be self-inflicted, sustained during the commission of a felony, or caused by intoxication or drug impairment. Employees may not receive compensation if the injury occurred as a result of violations of company policies or if the injury was sustained after an employee was terminated. Additionally, employers are not required to cover non-employee workers such as independent contractors.