Anyone who suffers an accidental injury at work has the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Filing a workers’ compensation claim is a legally protected activity, which means that it is against the law for your employer to retaliate against you for filing one. If your employer demotes you, threatens to fire you, or creates a hostile work environment by assigning you undesirable tasks, constantly changing the rules, or consistently being unpleasant toward you, it is employer retaliation, and you should talk to an employment lawyer about it.
You can also file a workers’ compensation claim if you get diagnosed with an occupational disease, which is a disease for which your risk is higher than normal due to your line of work. Occupational diseases vary from one occupation to another, but examples include cancer for firefighters (due to the carcinogenic chemicals in the equipment they use) and carpal tunnel syndrome for textile workers.
Most of the time, you should file a workers’ compensation claim with the employer who issues your paycheck. If your employer is subcontracting with another company, you can also file the claim with the company that has hired your employer as a subcontractor.
You do not have to prove negligence on your employer’s part to get your employer to pay your workers’ compensation claim; it is not like filing a personal injury lawsuit or even a car insurance claim. You must only show that the injury or illness is a result of you doing your job. Employers sometimes deny workers’ compensation claims if they think that the symptoms are because of a pre-existing condition instead of because of the work injury. Your employer might also disagree with you about which treatments are necessary or about which work tasks you can still do after the injury.
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