If you have been involved in a workplace accident that left you injured, odds are that you have several questions racing through your mind. Was the accident somehow your fault? How did this happen? Could this have been prevented somehow?
The odds are even better that your employer is wondering the same things. While that may not set your mind at ease, it is common—and wise—for your employer to question your workplace accident and injury. Typically, there will be an investigation into the incident in order to get to the bottom of what happened, and the findings will be used to not only determine your workers’ compensation claim success, but also to improve safety around the office.
Are Investigations Following a Workplace Accident Standard Procedure? Why?
Investigations are extremely common after a workplace accident that led to injury, and for good cause. Employers want their business to be safe—for the wellbeing of their employees as well as the wellbeing of their wallets—and when something happens that ends in injury, it is important to figure out what happened.
Usually, these investigations are not being performed in order to get you in trouble or avoid paying you. Employers will generally want to know about the accident, including what caused it to happen. If it is something that can be easily prevented through extra safety measures or additional training, your company will generally adjust their operations to include these extra measures and prevent a reoccurrence.
Can You Be Fired or Denied Benefits Based on the Results of the Investigation?
There are very few reasons that could justify a company firing an employee based on a workplace accident, but these generally include incidents involving grave misconduct. This means that if your accident was the result of drug use, alcohol use, or actions intending to harm, you may be terminated. Your employer cannot fire you, however, in retaliation for being injured or filing a workers’ compensation claim.
More commonly, the result of the investigation will lead to a denial of workers’ compensation benefits. The investigation may uncover that you were hurt outside the scope of your employment, or while engaging in horseplay, which would result in a denial of your benefits.
Have You Been Injured At Work?
If you've been injured on the job you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Augusta office directly at 706.863.6600 to schedule your free consultation.