Not Reporting Your Work-Related Injury? 4 Surprising Instances When You’re Still Eligible For Workers’ Compensation

Nearly 4% of workers report work-related accidents each year, but many more are estimated to go unreported. If you’ve been injured on the job, but don’t think you’re eligible for any compensation, you should reconsider. Here are four surprising situations where you’d still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits:

Attending a Company Picnic

If you were injured during part of a company function outside of your normal office, you might be entitled to worker’s compensation. There is legal precedence for employees being awarded compensation when injured in company functions such as:

  • Picnics and retreats.
  • Holiday parties.
  • Softball games.
  • Team-building exercises.

Typically, the burden will fall on an employer if the event is mandatory. If it was optional, you might still be eligible for worker’s compensation, but these laws will vary by state.

Taking Lunch

If you’re injured while taking a lunch-break, it can be tricky. If you’re taking lunch voluntarily off-site, you most likely won’t be covered. Essentially, lunchtime injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation when they are deemed to stay under the influence of your employer. Situations like this could include:

  • Taking lunch on company property, or at a company-mandated area.
  • Being asked by your boss to pick up lunch for them or your colleagues.
  • You’re officially on call during lunch, or carrying a beeper.
  • Taking a client on a lunch meeting.

Have an Existing Injury

Having an injury before you started working doesn’t automatically disqualify you from workers’ compensation benefits. In fact, it’s usually covered, so long as the new injury was sustained during work-related activities.

The only hitch is that pre-existing injuries may require additional proof. If you suffer a reoccurring injury while working, or exacerbate an existing one, you’ll want to seek out an independent medical exam. The doctor will be able to prove whether or not your injury was work-related, providing you the evidence necessary for your claim.

Traveling For Work

Your daily commute to and from work usually isn’t covered, but lots of work-related travel is. If you are running work-related errands, delivering goods, or traveling because you don’t have an office, you will be covered. 

Keep in mind that workers’ compensation will be limited to your medical costs and any potential lost wages. It won’t cover any costs related to repairing or replacing your vehicle. 

Workers’ compensation is a tricky subject, and laws will vary greatly state-by-state. If you believe you are eligible for a workers’ compensation claim, you should reach out to a local workers’ compensation attorney like one from Malone & Atchison. They will be able to help you make your claim and get back on your feet in no time.

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4 Ways To Prevent Slips And Falls In The Workplace

You’re already aware of the tons of cases every year that cost businesses thousands or even millions of dollars because someone slips and falls and gets injured at their place of business. This is every business owner’s worst nightmare. But there are ways to avoid it, or at least make it less likely. Here are a few:

  1. Proper Lighting: Having proper lighting can make a big difference in the number of slip and fall incidents. Keeping walkways, staircases, hallways, ramps and other areas properly lit will help prevent accidents because obstacles and wet areas can be more easily avoided. Always turn on lights as soon as you walk into a room and make sure that light switches are easily accessible. If you have any lighting malfunctions, make sure they are repaired immediately.
  2. Good Housekeeping: Making sure your place of business is clean is the most important part of preventing falls. Clean spills immediately, and make sure you mark spills and wet areas with plenty of cones. Make sure all of your mats and rugs are properly secured to the floor with slip resistant mats and make sure that you cover any cables lying around.
  3. Remove Debris: This is an important part of avoiding trips. Keep aisles and walkways clear of chairs, furniture, or anything else. Also be sure to sweep often to remove smaller debris that can be slipped on. Close cabinet drawers after you use them. It would be beneficial to do a walk through every once in a while to make sure there isn’t anything in the walkways that could be tripped over or slipped on. Parking lots are one of the top places where falls happen, so make sure they are kept clean and clear of debris. If you work with a lot of scraps, make sure there is a designated place to put them so they aren’t flying everywhere.
  4. Traction: Slippery surfaces cause falls, so a good way to prevent it is to create more traction. Adhesive strips or anti-skid paint is the best way to add traction to your floors. Absorbent mats and anti-skid tape work as well. This is especially important on rainy days when water is being tracked in all day.

Doing everything you can to avoid slips and falls or trips in your place of business will save you money down the road. Make sure you have proper lighting, you clean regularly, you remove any debris that could be tripped over, and you make sure your floors have plenty of traction. If needed, don’t hesitate to contact a slip and fall attorney, like those at Putnam Lieb, in the event of a law suit. 

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Talking To Your Teen About Car Accidents

It’s a situation no parent wants to face: A teenager involved in a car accident. Statistics show that drivers in their teens—aged 16 to 19—are at the highest risk for being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Start talking to your teen now about car accidents and how to avoid them. Use these tips to help you remind your teenager about safety and car accidents. 

Don’t Accuse

Teenagers don’t respond well to feeling accused or blamed. When you talk to them about safety, don’t accuse them of driving badly or being reckless. Stay calm and be honest with your concerns about safety and give them the opportunity to tell you about their own concerns.

Set a Few Ground Rules

When you allow your teen to take the car and go out on their own, you have no control over what they’re doing. Talk to them about a few rules and limitations you would like to put into place. Ask for their input and you might be surprised about how well they respond to rules. 

Some of the rules could be:

  • A specific curfew.
  • No phone use while they are in the car.
  • No passengers without approval by you.
  • No eating while driving.

Ask Questions

Teenagers tend to respond better when they are asked for their thoughts and opinions. If you want them to truly join the conversation, ask what they think. Ask your teen what is most distracting for them when they drive. Ask them about the toughest places they have driven. Ask about what makes them nervous when they drive. Opening up the conversation so your teen can tell you their thoughts will make it more memorable and meaningful for both of you.

Talk About What to Do if an Accident Occurs 

Does your teenager know what to do if they get in an accident? Chances are, they probably don’t. Go over the steps your teenager will need to complete if they are ever involved in a car accident.

Remind them that they will need to:

  • Never leave the scene of an accident.
  • If possible, pull over to the side of the road.
  • Call 911 if there are injuries.
  • Call parents.
  • Pull out the auto insurance card.
  • Don’t make any statements without parents or an attorney from a firm like present.

Prepare your teenager for the possibility of a car accident. Talk to them about staying safe and driving with caution then remind them often. As a parent, you want to keep your child safe, but you can’t be with them every minute. Reiterating the importance of driving safely and making smart choices on a regular basis will instill those lessons with them and help them avoid becoming a statistic.

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