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Can You Get Workers’ Comp If You Get Hurt on Your First Day?

April 19, 2021

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When you start a new job, you expect to have to wait a few weeks or even months for certain benefits to kick in. For example, it’s common for companies to have probationary periods where new employees don’t have access to things like a 401k, paid paternity and maternity leave, paid vacation and sick days, or health insurance until they’ve accrued 30, 60, or even 90 days of service.

Even the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires a minimum number of hours worked for eligibility, which is currently 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months before the applicant’s injury, illness, or other event requiring leave occurred. But what about employees who get hurt on the job during their probationary period, including on their first day?

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Available Immediately to Eligible Employees

Unlike FMLA, workers’ compensation benefits are available right away to new employees. Even employees who are in their companies’ “probationary periods” are eligible to file workers’ compensation claims, regardless of whether they’ve worked for one month or one hour.

The only requirements that must be met for a valid workers’ compensation claim are:

  • The injury or illness occurred during employment, whether it was at the job site or traveling for job-related reasons
  • The injury or illness was caused by a job-related danger or risk
  • The injury or illness will result in at least eight or more days of missed work

Note that if you’re in a contract-to-hire role, you AREN’T eligible for workers’ compensation benefits until you’re officially hired as a full employee, whether your role is full-time or part-time.

How Do Employees Get Hurt on Their First Days of Work?

It seems like a nightmare scenario—you wake up excited about starting a new job or even a new career, but before you even know all of your coworkers’ names, you’ve suffered a serious injury that will put you out of work for more than one week.

How does this happen? There are several ways that employees can get hurt on day one of a new job, including:

  • Lack of training—Occupations involving manual labor, heavy machinery, and dangerous tasks demand intensive training, even for occupational veterans. When this training is lackluster, rushed, or absent, workers can be seriously injured within hours of starting new jobs.
  • Lack of safety equipment—When workers aren’t provided adequate safety equipment, they’re all at risk, whether they’re 30-year veterans or on the first day of their new careers.
  • Hazing—Hazing of newly minted members is commonly associated with fraternities and sororities, sports teams, and the military, but it can also occur at workplaces. Hazing may include forcing employees to engage in dangerous behaviors that can result in serious injuries.
  • Bad luck—Sometimes, injuries are unforeseeable and occur simply due to bad luck. And to make matters worse, those injuries can occur to employees who haven’t had a chance to earn their first paychecks or even clock out for the first time.

Regardless of job title, occupation, or industry, all employees are susceptible to injuries at any time, even their first days. And when those injuries happen, they deserve compensation for their missed paychecks.

Don’t Be Afraid to Report Your Injury on Your First Day

Many employees are hesitant to tell their supervisors or managers after they suffer on-the-job injuries, including those who have great relationships with their coworkers and years of service and equity. It can be even more difficult and intimidating to report an injury and file a workers’ compensation claim after getting hurt on your first day, but not doing so can be a big mistake.

If your injury requires medical treatment and causes you to miss work, not taking the proper steps can make you unable to file a workers’ compensation claim, period. Or, if you decide to file but you waited too long to report your injury, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) may be skeptical of your claim and less likely to believe that it happened while you were at work.

Finally, remember that it’s against the law for your employer to fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, regardless of your tenure or probationary period status in the company.

We’re Here to Help You Get Your Claim or Appeal Approved

Workers’ compensation claims are complex, and many are rejected by the BWC for minor oversights and mistakes. Don’t risk losing out on the benefits you’re owed. Contact the Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy today for a free consultation. We’ll work hard to get your claim approved, or if you’ve already been denied, we’ll fight to win your appeal.

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