The first laws protecting employees started in 1855. At that time, the law allowed employees to file lawsuits against employers that did not protect workers. Maryland was the first state to pass the workers’ compensation law, but it wasn’t until 1949 that all American workers had this type of protection. Despite the existence of this safety net, many workers still do not get the help they need when a job-related injury or illness occurs.

Know the Law

Employers in the state of Washington must have coverage for all employees. A few exceptions to this law include independent contractors, children under the age of 18 that work for their parents, and certain government employees. Employers have a legal obligation to report all workplace accidents or work-related illnesses as soon as possible. The employer cannot fire an injured employee or refuse to make a report.

Expect Fair Treatment

Employers cannot force an injured worker to perform tasks that could cause themmore injuries. The employer cannot expect an injured worker to wait for medical care until they are off the clock. Washington is an at-will state, so employers can fire an employee at any time except if they choose to do so because of a compensation claim. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Tumwater, WA if you lose your job after an injury or during a workers’ compensation dispute.

Follow the Rules

It is advisable for workers to schedule an appointment with a lawyer to protect themselves against anyone that tries to cheat them out of their legal benefits. However, employees must make certain they do not take any action that reflects negatively on their case. Employees must use the doctor provided by their employer. They cannot refuse light-duty work at their workplace if they have the physical ability to complete the tasks. Employees lose their eligibility to collect workers’ compensation benefits if an impairment caused by drugs or alcohol led to the accident or if the company prohibited the actions that caused the incident.

A denial of a worker’s compensation claim should never stop someone from pursuing a legitimate claim. About seventy percent of denied claims are eventually paid following an appeal. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Tumwater, WA to learn more about the options available to injured employees.