Healthcare workers help us in our time of need, even more so in the last several years since the COVID-19 pandemic. They are attending to patients in emergency rooms, helping our seniors through health challenges, and ensuring our basic healthcare needs are met during routine office visits.
Healthcare workers also take care of people when they get hurt on the job, but what happens when they are the ones that need help? You may be surprised to learn that healthcare workers – nurses, doctors, physician assistants, and even administrative staff – also get injured at work. In fact, the healthcare industry has one of the highest rates of workplace injuries and experienced a staggering 249% increase in injury and illness rates in 2020.
If you are a healthcare worker that’s been injured on the job, how do you know if you have a workers’ comp claim? Let’s take a look at the most common healthcare worker injuries, what is workers’ comp for healthcare workers, and steps to take after your injuries.
Common Healthcare Worker Injuries
There are many different types of jobs in the healthcare industry from nursing assistant to surgeon. Workers are exposed to hazards daily including disease, toxins, and physical challenges such as lifting, repetitive motions, and strenuous tasks.
Some of the most common injuries in the healthcare field include:
- Slips and falls
- Repetitive stress
- Needle sticks
- Workplace violence
- Sprains and strains
- Respiratory illness
These are just a few of the injuries a healthcare worker may experience while working on the job. If you’ve experienced a workplace injury at a hospital, nursing home, private practice, or any type of medical facility, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
What is Workers’ Compensation for Healthcare Workers?
Workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits for workers who are injured as a direct result of something that occurred at the workplace. Workers’ comp provides compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs to the injured worker to help relieve the financial stress during their recovery.
In Pennsylvania, coverage for workers’ comp is mandatory for most businesses, including those in the healthcare field. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act protects both employees and employers. Employees receive medical treatment and financial compensation for lost wages and employers in turn bear those costs while being protected from direct lawsuits.
Applying for workers’ comp can be an overwhelming process for an injured worker, especially when their injuries are severe. If you’ve been hurt on the job as a healthcare professional, reach out to a workers’ comp attorney to understand the process and your rights.
Steps to Take After Being Injured at Work
As a healthcare worker, we understand you may feel the need to work through your injury or stay on the job so you can continue to help patients and your colleagues. But if you are injured on the job, you deserve the same care and protected rights as other workers who are injured at work.
If you’ve suffered a work-related injury, here are the steps to take to protect your rights and file for workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania:
Inform your Employer
The first step to filing a workers’ comp claim is to inform your employer of your workplace injury or illness. This important step starts the entire workers’ comp process. Explain how the injury or illness occurred and be as detailed as possible and ask for a copy of the injury report. Your employer is required to provide you with the paperwork needed to file a claim at this time. Remember – it is your responsibility to file a claim with the state.
Time is critical in this step – you have 21 days from the date of your injury to report it to your employer to receive maximum benefits. After day 21, you can still report the injury, however, your benefits eligibility starts on the day you reported it. Any costs incurred from day 1 through 21 would be your responsibility.
Legally, you have until day 120 to file an injury claim with your employer but it’s in your best interests to report the injury as soon as possible. If you file after day 120, you could lose your compensation benefits.
Seek Medical Attention
If you work in the healthcare industry, chances are your employer has a list of physicians who are approved workers’ comp providers. During the first 90 days after your injury, you are required by law to use these providers for your medical diagnosis and treatment. If your employer doesn’t have a list of approved physicians, or after day 90, you can choose your provider.
Be specific and truthful about your injury. The doctor or medical provider will perform an exam and provide documentation to your employer and their workers’ comp insurance company.
Keep Detailed Notes of Your Injury and Recovery
Many workers’ comp claims are initially denied, so it’s important to keep detailed notes of both your injury and recovery. Write down any symptoms you have immediately, along with the date and any notes you think are relevant. Your notes can be used to prove your injury was the result of an accident at work.
Contact a Workers’ Comp Attorney
Let’s face it – the legal system can be overwhelming and hard to navigate alone. Plus, workers’ comp insurers work hard to minimize their financial responsibility and protect their bottom line. They have a team of attorneys on their side, and you deserve the same representation.
Workers’ Comp Attorneys for Healthcare Professionals
At the law offices of Dale E. Anstine, we work tirelessly to help injured workers receive the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. If you are a healthcare worker and were hurt on the job, reach out to us today to discuss your claim. We have represented injured healthcare workers for more than 40 years in York, Gettysburg, Hanover, and surrounding areas and understand the complexities of the workers’ comp system.
You don’t have to fight for your rights alone! Contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation. We do not charge a fee unless we recover benefits for you. Let us take on the burden of the workers’ comp process so you can focus on your recovery.