After being injured on the job, don't just accept the first compensation offered--and certainly don't let anyone blame you. There are multiple compensation opportunities available after a workplace injury, and workers compensation is just the start. Here are a few things to consider as you weigh your legal options.
Should Workers Compensation Be the First Response?
Workers compensation is the first offer that should arrive in most workplace injury cases, and its benefits are not at all useless. The system should cover your related medical bills until a doctor approves your return to work, and it provides a percentage of your salary. The percentage part can be a problem.
If you're living from paycheck to paycheck and any reduction in pay could threaten your or your family's livelihood, you need to push for better compensation. There's no law saying that you have to accept the offer as-is; workers compensation policy is simply a baseline for most cases, as some people can deal with a partial paycheck as they recover without a problem.
If it's a problem for you, an attorney can negotiate the terms. Whether it's in the form of covering your costs with social programs such as electronic benefits transfer (EBT) for food stamps or a direct increase in payment to your check or bank account, the gap can be filled if you speak with an attorney quickly enough.
Should You Be Taking on Other Opponents?
What caused the injury? Was it another employee, or a mistake by the employer? Should the vendors behind your work equipment or safety equipment be sued, or did a third party outside of the company cause the incident? Depending on the answer, you may need to seek a personal injury claim against one or more parties.
If you're already out of work because of an injury, the time can be spent working on other legal research and claims. Finding the true cause of the problem and seeking compensation for damages can protect your future in case of complications, and if it was a problem outside of your company's control, you can spearhead a legal challenge that helps both you and your company.
Depending on the severity of the injury, you may want to consider the Social Security Disability program. An attorney can help you prepare the paperwork and figure out if successful legal claims in the previous examples would effect your Social Security benefits at all. Contact a workers compensation attorney to discuss your compensation opportunities and maximize your downtime during injury if possible.