If you work for a non-subscriber employer who has opted out of providing workers’ compensation benefits, you will have additional hurdles to navigate in order to obtain compensation after a workplace accident. You must prove that your employer’s negligence caused your accident and injuries. However, even if you can prove your employer was just ten percent at fault, you could be entitled to full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Records your employer is required to keep for the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regarding workplace injuries and illnesses could help you prove that your employer was negligent.
What Record Keeping OSHA Requires
OSHA has enacted detailed federal regulations outlining employers’ responsibilities to maintain records of workers’ illnesses and injuries on the job—whether or not the employer was at fault. The rules apply to most employers with ten or more employees. Illnesses or injuries that result in any of the following must be reported:
- A worker’s death
- The worker taking days off work
- The worker being placed on restricted work duties or reassigned to a different job
- Medical treatment other than first aid
- The worker’s loss of consciousness
- A diagnosis of a significant illness or injury by a doctor or other licensed health care provider
Any work-related death must be reported within eight hours, and an amputation, loss of eye, or worker hospitalization must be reported within twenty-four hours.
How OSHA's Reporting Records Could Help Your Case
OSHA requires employers to maintain their records of work-related illnesses and injuries for five years. A summary of the prior year’s injuries and illnesses must be posted each February through April and will need to be submitted electronically by most employers to OSHA beginning in 2017. Employers must also provide a copy of these records to employees, former employees, and their representatives upon their request.
The required report provides important information about the accident, such as who was injured, how the injury or illness occurred, the outcome, whether the worker was off work and if so, for how long, and more. This information could help your case in the following ways:
- Shows that another worker had a similar accident to yours
- Leads to evidence that your employer knew of the dangerous condition that caused your injury or illness and failed to correct the problem
- Shows that this is a long-term problem if more than one employee had a similar accident
- Leads to witnesses that could help prove your employer’s negligence
- Results in other leads that your attorney can investigate that may result in evidence helpful to your case
Were you injured in a workplace accident where your employer opted out of providing workers’ compensation benefits? Our experienced legal team has helped many victims like you obtain the compensation they deserve. Call us at (817) 380-4888 or start an online chat to schedule a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.