As a 25-year attorney in the field of Workers’ Compensation, I have represented thousands of injured workers and heard all kinds of stories — many involving workers who didn’t file a Workers’ Comp claim for one reason or another. Some of the most frequent reasons I’ve heard from workers who get injured on the job and don’t file a claim include fear of getting fired, or intimidation by a system that seems cumbersome and hard to navigate.
First of all, it is against the law for an employer to fire you in retaliation for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. You should know that Workers’ Compensation is a no fault system. In exchange for timely payment of medical and indemnity benefits, workers gave up the right to sue their employer. These laws went into effect in the early 20th Century as a result of social reform and tragedy. While every state in the nation has some form of Workers’ Compensation laws, they all vary in scope and date of inception. In New York, the pivotal event that culminated in the passage of Workers’ Compensation legislation occurred in 1911 after the horror of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, where 146 individuals perished — some burned to death while others leapt to their deaths when they tried to escape the fire and found the emergency exits locked. This was a preventable tragedy caused by unsafe work conditions and was a catalyst for…
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