Getting a first job is an important step towards independence and gaining the experience needed for a career. Young workers also contribute to the local economy and make big contributions. However, they can also be at risk.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Flaxman Law Group have worked with many young employees who have been injured on the job and who have struggled to get their rightful benefits. Many have been worried about their future lives because of serious injuries.
Why Young Workers Are at Risk
Everyone in the workforce is at risk of on-the-job injuries, but young workers, often in their first jobs, may lack experience and knowledge of workplace hazards. They may also be unfamiliar with their rights and the workers’ compensation benefits available to them. As a result, they may be more vulnerable to workplace accidents and injuries. Common causes of injuries among young workers include:
- Inadequate Training. Insufficient training programs can lead to accidents caused by improper use of machinery, handling hazardous materials, or performing tasks without the necessary skills. In some cases, employers are less likely to offer additional training to young workers, especially part-time or seasonal employees.
- Lack of Awareness. Young workers may not be fully aware of potential workplace hazards or may feel uncomfortable reporting unsafe conditions for fear of repercussions. They may worry that addressing unsafe conditions could cause them to lose an early job or even affect future job prospects.
- Inexperience. Limited experience in certain industries or job roles may increase the risk of accidents, especially in high-risk sectors such as construction, manufacturing, or healthcare.
- Workplace attitudes. Employers sometimes see young workers as interns or temporary employees who won’t be in their workplace long-term. This can cause some workplaces to fail to invest in work training or mentorship, which could reduce the risk. In some workplaces, young employees are given riskier work. Their concerns may unfortunately not always be treated with the same consideration as concerns voiced by more experienced team members.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Young Workers
Workers’ compensation in Florida is designed to protect employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Young workers, like their more experienced counterparts, are entitled to the same workers’ comp benefits, including:
- All necessary medical treatment, including surgeries and ongoing care.
- Wage replacement that covers a portion of lost income during the recovery period.
- Vocational rehabilitation to help in retraining for alternative employment.
How Young Employees Can Protect Their Rights
If you’re early in your career and suffer a workplace injury or illness, there are few things you will want to do:
- Get familiar with Florida workers’ comp laws before your accident. Flaxman Law Group has free resources you can explore here.
- Report your injury at once. If your injury is serious, ask someone at work to call 911. No matter how serious the injury, report the incident to your employer or supervisor. Reporting the injury ensures that the workers’ compensation process begins. Delayed reporting may complicate the claims process and potentially result in the denial of benefits.
- Keep documentation. Write down what you remember about the injury, as soon as you can. If possible, take photos of where the accident happened. You will need to fill out incident or injury report forms provided by your employer; keep a copy of any paperwork you get for your records.
- Get medical attention. Seek medical attention as soon as possible following a workplace injury. Prompt medical treatment not only ensures proper care but also establishes a clear connection between the injury and the workplace, strengthening your workers’ compensation claim. Make sure you keep all records and bills related to your injury and follow the doctor’s instructions closely.
- Consult an experienced Florida workers’ comp lawyer if you encounter any issues. The workers’ compensation process can be complex, particularly for young workers who may be unfamiliar with legal procedures. Seeking legal guidance from experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can make a significant difference in protecting your rights.
If you’ve been injured on the job or have been diagnosed with an occupational illness and are worried about getting your rightful benefits, call Flaxman Law Group at 866-352-9626 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with a workers’ comp attorney. Or contact us online to reach our Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood offices.