Workplace accidents can happen anytime you least expect them – even on the first day of work.
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) study, new workers are five times more likely to receive injuries than their more experienced seniors. In addition, 40% of all injuries recorded for the report involved workers who have been on the job for less than a year. BLS even estimated that one in every eight injuries occurs on a worker’s first day.
If you get injured on your very first day of work, can you file a workers’ compensation claim?
What the state labor department has to say
Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development (DWD) says that coverage for workers’ compensation begins on the first day of work – regardless of how long the employee has been working or whether they’re probationary employees or in training.
Reminders for your first workers’ compensation claim
Of course, you’ll still have to report your injury immediately to your supervisor when it happens. If your claim gets approved, you can expect the first payment from your employer’s insurer within 14 days of the last day you worked.
You should also remember that there’s a three-day waiting period before compensation for lost time kicks in. You can’t claim compensation for lost wages until the fourth day of lost time. However, if your disability lasts for over seven calendar days, your employer’s insurer must retroactively pay for the first three days of lost time.
Dealing with claim denials
While you can file a workers’ compensation claim on your first day, there’s no guarantee that your employer won’t deny it. Your employer might dispute that your injury resulted from factors outside of work or argue that you took too long to file the claim. Maybe your employer thinks you provided false information about your first-day injury. If your employer denies your claim for any reason, you can apply for a formal hearing of your case with Wisconsin’s Workers’ Compensation Division.
Because a legal procedure is involved, you should consider hiring an attorney to represent you in the hearing. A legal professional can uphold your rights as a worker during the hearing and fight for your compensation. And even if your employer chooses to settle the dispute before the hearing, an attorney can help negotiate and ensure you get enough payment for your injuries.