Getting hurt on the job is stressful enough, but you can make it even harder on yourself if you fall victim to common myths about workers’ compensation. You have certain rights after getting hurt on the job, and understanding those rights can make it easier for you to connect with the benefits you need to get health care and cover lost wages after a workplace accident.
Once you know the five most prevalent workers’ compensation myths, you will be in a better position to advocate for yourself and get the benefits you need.
Myth #1: There’s a specific limit to compensation based on the injury
There is no set rate for injuries. Although certain states do have maximum benefit amounts associated with specific injuries, like the amputation of a single finger, the benefits that you receive actually depend on the long-term impact of your injury and the medical costs it produces. Since everybody’s body is different, the amount of care people need to recover is also going to vary.
Myth #2: If you caused the accident, you can’t get benefits
There are certain circumstances in which your decisions could prevent you from getting benefits. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating heavy machinery would be one example. However, just because your hand slips while operating a machine and you suffer a severe injury because of your own mistake doesn’t mean you can’t get compensation.
Myth #3: Your employer has to approve your claim for benefits
Your employer doesn’t make the final decision about your benefits. The insurance company that they pay for their policy makes that decision, although you still have the right to appeal a denial if you feel it was wrongful. Your employer can advise the insurer of factors that they feel might influence the validity of the claim, but they don’t have control over your claim or your benefits.
Myth #4: Your employer gets to choose the doctor you visit
The company that you work for cannot mandate what physician you see for care. Although your employer may have on-site medical facilities that you have to see initially, you do have the right to make choices about the care you receive, including the physician that provides your care.
Myth #5: Your employer can fire you for filing a claim
If your employer fires you for claiming workers’ compensation benefits, the action may constitute retaliation. The federal government prohibits retaliation for workers engaged in protected activities, which include seeking benefits after a workplace injury and requesting accommodations of an injury to stay on the job.
Getting good advice and help early in the process after a workplace injury can make it a lot simpler for you to avoid mistakes related to these and other common myths and get the benefits you need during a difficult time.