Sustaining a workplace injury can be devastating. Not only do workplace injury victims have to deal with pain and suffering and medical visits, but they may also lose income if they cannot work. Here, we want to discuss the steps that you need to take after sustaining a West Virginia workplace injury in order to recover the compensation you need. West Virginia has robust workers’ compensation laws, and you should know your rights.
Seek Medical Treatment
The number one priority after sustaining an on-the-job injury is seeking medical care. Your health and well-being are more important than anything else right after an injury, and the sooner you are medically treated, the sooner you recover. A doctor will determine whether or not you are able to work and oversee your treatment. If you put off seeking medical care after a workplace injury, this could prevent you from receiving full compensation, and it could worsen your injuries.
You will need to find out which medical providers are authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board or go to the medical providers participating in the Preferred Provider Organization if your company participates.
Report the Injury
You need to report the injury to your supervisor or employer in writing within 30 days of the incident occurring. Preferably, you should alert your employer the same day as the incident. Your employer needs to know how the injury happened and that you are seeking medical care. If you delay reporting your injury, this could prevent you from getting full compensation, and it could even result in your claim being denied.
Additionally, even after you report your injury, you have a limited amount of time to file a workers’ compensation claim. In West Virginia, this reporting timeframe can be as little as six months from the date the injury occurs. There are various reasons why an individual may put off filing an injury claim, particularly if the injury does not seem severe at first. It is not uncommon for some workplace injuries to worsen over the days, weeks, or months following the initial incident. However, report your injury as soon as possible so you can ensure coverage.
Reach Out to an Attorney
You need to contact a skilled work injury lawyer in Morgantown who can discuss the circumstances of your work-related injury. Even though workers’ compensation is considered a no-fault system in West Virginia (which means you do not have to prove that another party is responsible for causing the injury), compensation benefits are limited in their scope, and they are often not nearly sufficient enough to handle all the expenses and employee will face.
Explore Third-Party Options
There are times when it may be possible to step outside of the workers’ compensation system and file a third-party personal injury lawsuit in civil court against an at-fault party. This situation could arise in a variety of ways, particularly if the injury was caused by a party other than the employer or a coworker. Additionally, third-party claims can arise if the employer had knowledge of an unsafe condition in the workplace that violated state or federal laws or a well-known safety standard but still exposed due to the dangerous condition.
Jeffery Robinette was admitted to practice law in 1991 and is licensed in all levels of state and federal trial courts in West Virginia. Mr. Robinette is also licensed in all state and federal appeals courts in West Virginia and the United States Supreme Court. As a National Board Certified Trial Attorney who has handled hundreds of motor vehicle, injury, and construction defect claims and a leading author on insurance claims settlement issues and difficulties in West Virginia, Jeff Robinette is uniquely qualified to represent your best interest.