Hardworking employees often put their livelihood and their ability to provide for their families before anything else. Unfortunately, this often includes their own personal health and safety. When someone is injured on the job, they are often either afraid to report an injury because of the prolonged downtime that may follow, or just feel a profound sense of guilt and obligation to their boss for allowing them to make a living.
The problem, particularly in the more physically strenuous trades, is that injuries that go unreported often get worse and ultimately impede an employee’s ability to effectively do their job. In the end, if you can’t do your job, you can’t earn a paycheck. So, it’s a lose-lose situation for someone who has been hurt at work but opts to not file for Workers’ Comp benefits.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently proposed making it a violation for companies to discourage employee reporting of on-the-job injuries. Further, it is already illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who file for Workers’ Comp and take time off work to heal after being hurt on the job. Regardless, employees still fear the ramifications of filing for disability. Other employees don’t want to cost their employers more money, figuring it will hurt their own chances of getting a raise.
So, while it’s generous of you to think about your employer’s pocketbook, the question is: can you afford to be so generous? A recent report released by OSHA states that injured workers earn an average of $31,000 or 15 percent less than they would have in the 10 years following an injury. This is all the more reason to collect the compensation that’s owed to you. Further, if your injuries are serious, you may be entitled to a cash award. Failure to file for Workers’ Comp may mean you are leaving money on the table.
And, if that’s true, there’s a lot of money being left behind. Fewer than 40 percent of eligible employees apply for Workers’ Compensation benefits at the time of injury. This may be because many employees are unwilling to “make waves” or “cause trouble” that can disrupt their regular earnings.
Every employee deserves to go work in a safe environment. If you get hurt at work, you are entitled to file for Workers’ Compensation benefits and have your medical treatment paid for, as well as get replacement pay if you are out of work recovering from your injuries.
know there are mechanisms in place that can protect your boss from financial hardship while ensuring you get the compensation you deserve. On the other hand, if you don’t get the treatment you need, it may very well come back to bite you later on. Don’t lose sight of what’s important: your health.
Call Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC today to learn your rights and get sound legal advice regarding your on-the-job injury. We will make sure you get all the benefits you are entitled to receive under the NJ Workers’ Compensation System.