The U.S. Department of Labor reports that more than 2.8 million American workers suffered job-related injuries and illnesses in 2016. Alaskans are not immune to these events; incident rates for state workers were higher than the national average in nearly every industry that same year. These injuries can have a serious, long-lasting impact on workers and their families. The pain of the injury and the financial strain that can accompany them can result in significant stress and force lifestyle changes for years to come.
That doesn’t have to be the case, however. Workers in Alaska and across the country can be protected by the workers’ compensation system, which offers benefits that provide medical care and compensation when an employee suffers an injury or illness related to his job. While the benefits are available to most workers, some shy away from filing a claim whether out of fear of employer retaliation or simple misunderstanding of the system. Here, learn more about what to do now to ensure that you can obtain the compensation you need to recover as fully as possible from a work-related injury.
What Is a Work-Related Injury?
One of the most basic tenets of the workers’ compensation system is the requirement that the injury or illness be work-related. What does that mean? What injuries might qualify? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that an injury is work-related if the work environment caused or contributed to the condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition. This can cover a wide range of injuries and illnesses, including job-site accidents, repetition injuries, car crashes on work travel/errands, office injuries, inhalation diseases, and much more.
What To Do If You’ve Suffered an Injury on the Job in Alaska
If you’ve suffered an injury at work, it’s important to take action as quickly as possible to protect your rights and strengthen your claim. Injured workers should:
- Seek medical attention. As soon as possible, see a doctor for any injury and follow your doctor’s treatment plan, even a seemingly minor one. The work injury is the basis of your claim, and failing to seek care may make it seem like the injury does not really exist or isn’t severe enough to warrant a claim. More importantly, prompt care will give injured workers the best chance at as full a recovery as possible and continued good health.
- Notify your employer of the injury. In Alaska, injured workers have 30 days to report an injury or illness to the employer in writing. Many employers provide injury report forms for employees to complete, but any written notice may suffice. Keep a copy of the report for your own records.
- Take notes. Write down what happened—whether it was an accident or the development of an illness. Note what led up to the event and keep contact information for any co-workers who may have been witnesses to the conditions. Later, these notes can keep your memory clear.
- Call an attorney. While a lawyer is not required for a workers’ compensation claim, an experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance and handle the technical details during an already stressful time. Additionally, the outcome of your case is legally binding, and the decision can affect your life for years to come. An attorney has navigated this process before and can help avoid common, devastating pitfalls.
This Alaska Work Injury Attorney Can Help Protect You
The time after a work injury can feel overwhelming and confusing. Anchorage attorney Ben Crittenden is here to help injured workers and their families obtain the benefits they need to move forward confidently. Experienced and dedicated, Ben works hard to use his legal knowledge to achieve the best possible outcome that meets the unique goals of every client. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury on the job, call Ben today or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page. Talk directly with Ben to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and learn more about how he may be able to help.