If you've been injured on the job, you need to act fast to protect your rights, your finances, and your health. On-the-job accidents can leave you out of work while facing debilitating injuries. To make sure you get the benefits you're entitled to, you need to understand how worker's compensation works. Here are answers to some questions you might have about the process.

When to File

If you've been injured on the job, or contracted a disease while on-the-job, you need to file as soon as possible. For injuries, you should file a claim as soon as the accident occurs. For work-related illnesses, such a mesothelioma, or carpal tunnel syndrome, you should file as soon as you seek medical care for the disability.

Workers Compensation and Social Security

If your work-related injuries or illness are expected to last for more than one year, you can file for both worker's compensation and social security benefits. One benefit of applying for both benefits is that you'll receive cash payments from both entities. Another benefit is that your social security disability payments will continue for as long as you're disabled, whereas your worker's compensation benefits will have time limits attached.

Employment Worries

If you're concerned that you'll lose your job if you file a worker's compensation claim, you should know that the law prevents your employer from retaliating against you for on-the-job injuries. It is important to note that an employer can fire you for other reasons while you're out on worker's compensation. For instance, if your employer needs to reduce their workforce for budgetary purposes, they can legally lay you off while you have an open worker's compensation claim. They will need to prove that they had a just cause for letting you go, however.

Choosing a Doctor

If you've been injured on-the-job, you may go to your personal physician, or local emergency room for initial treatment. However, in most states, you'll be required to go to an approved worker's compensation doctor to receive further treatment. One of the reasons you might not be able to continue with your own doctor is because they're not specialists in the area of your injuries. Worker's compensation will require you to receive care from a doctor who has experience with your type of injuries, or in occupational medicine.

If you've suffered workplace injuries, you need to file for worker's compensation benefits. The information provided here will help you protect your rights to receive the benefits you're entitled to. If you have other questions regarding your claim, be sure to speak to a worker's compensation attorney, such as at Thompson Legal Services