Workplace injury cases frequently hinge on a handful of key questions. If you're getting ready to visit a workers comp attorney to discuss filing or appealing a claim, it's wise to be able to address these four issues.
Were You an Employee at the Time of the Incident?
Claims are generally only considered in cases where an individual operated as an employee of the organization in question. Do not assume that being treated as an independent contractor excludes you from filing a claim. The standard the government uses to judge whether someone is an employee is whether they did their work on an at-will basis. If you were expected to show up on a regular schedule and had no right to pick or refuse jobs, then you were likely an employee in the eyes of the law.
Did the Injuries Occur While Handling Something for Your Employer?
While it generally makes filing a claim easier if an injury happened while you were at work and on the clock, that's not the only scenario where a case may be pursued. Virtually anything that is asked or required of you by your employees is potentially compensable. This may include mandatory events, such as meetings and company picnics. It also covers things like running errands during your break for your employer. Even if your boss asked you to drop something off at the post office on your way home after work, that may be classified as a work-related activity.
Can You Document Pre-Existing Injuries?
One of the simplest defenses a company might use is that a claim isn't work-related. This is what pre-employment physicals are all about. If the company didn't demand a physical, then they're going to have a harder time showing that an injury isn't due to a pre-existing condition. Conversely, you may need a more thorough medical examination if you're seeking compensation for something similar to an issue found during that initial screening.
Are There Medical Reports?
In the eyes of a workers compensation attorney, there's no such thing as too much documentation. Any medical report you might have collected after the injury occurred will help bolster your case. Get the names of attending physicians and any emergency personnel who may have treated you.
It's also a good idea to report any injury as soon as possible to your employer. Even if you're not sure you want to file a claim, report the incident to your closest superior.