How to receive workers’ comp when injured during your shift in a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office
Despite the fact that they work in the medical field, it’s possible for doctors, nurses and healthcare staff to be injured on the job.
In 2019, 850 people in the healthcare industry were injured in Montana, second only to trade, transportation and utilities in the state. Of those 850 people, 210 were nursing assistants and 90 were personal care aides.
If you were injured during your shift at a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office, then it’s important to understand your rights to workers’ compensation in Montana.
Common work injuries in healthcare
Healthcare workers often must move heavy patients, lift heavy equipment and are frequently exposed to viruses and infectious diseases. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), musculoskeletal injuries are more common in healthcare workers than in other occupations. Lifting heavy items, including immobile patients, can lead to shoulder, back and neck strains.
It’s common for the floors of medical offices and healthcare facilities to have liquids spilled on them, so slip and fall accidents are also frequent. When healthcare facilities are understaffed, it can lead to additional injuries as well.
Healthcare workers are also susceptible to infections that are airborne and bloodborne, including HIV, Hepatitis B and C, COVID-19 and more.
What to do if you are injured at work
If you are a healthcare worker who is injured at work or become ill due to your job, the first thing you need to do is file a claim with your employer. The sooner you file your claim, the better it is as you want the details on record as soon as possible. Delaying your report could result in your claim being denied, as there will be no documentation that an accident occurred.
You should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Your employer may provide you with a list of approved doctors to see in order to document your injury and provide you with treatment.
As a medical professional, it should go without saying, but it’s critical that you follow the doctor’s orders. Failing to do so could result in a worsening injury and the workers’ compensation insurance company could deny the claim due to your negligence.
It’s also critical that you not exaggerate your symptoms. Some insurance companies will hire investigators to follow those that they believe are not being truthful about the severity of their injury.
What workers’ comp benefits could you receive?
Once your claim has been approved, you will be eligible for payment of lost wages, coverage of your medical costs and other expenses related to your injury. If you will be out of work due to your injury, you will be entitled to payment of two-thirds of your gross salary.
If your injury will prevent you from working again, it’s possible you will qualify for long-term disability payments from the insurance company at the same rate. There is a weekly cap on how much you can receive, however.
What if the injury was your fault?
Even if you are fully or partially at fault in the accident that caused your injury, you are still eligible for workers’ compensation (in most cases). For example, if you didn’t wait for assistance when you attempted to lift a patient and you injured your back, you are still eligible for benefits.
However, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol or you violated a strict operating policy, it’s possible your claim could be denied. Even if your injury is minor, you should still file a claim; minor injuries could turn into major injuries over time.
If you wait too long to file your workers’ compensation claim, you could be left with significant medical bills.
When to speak to a Montana work injury attorney
Many healthcare workers avoid talking to an attorney after a workplace injury as they are not interested in filing a lawsuit against their employer. However, you can’t file a lawsuit for a workplace injury in Montana in most circumstances. That said, you may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party, such as the manufacturer of medical equipment that didn’t operate properly and caused your injury, or a patient who becomes violent and injures you.
Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers will review your case and look out for your best interests when it comes to your compensation. For example, some employers may compute your lost wages incorrectly. We will make sure the funds you receive are the correct amount and that all medical bills are paid in a timely manner. If there is a chance that your case may involve a civil suit with a third party, we will manage those details for you as well.
If you were injured at work or during your shift, or you have developed a serious illness due to your employment, contact the Murphy Law Firm to see how we may be able to help. We can help you arrange for a no-obligation consultation where we will review your case and guide you through the entire process to ensure that you receive all the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
We will also determine if you have a personal injury civil case against a third party, which may provide you with compensation for pain and suffering, among other benefits. Our professional staff is waiting to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.