Getting injured on the job can be very traumatic, especially if the injury puts you out of work or leaves you with some permanent disability or weakness as a result. Every employee is protected by law and entitled to receive certain compensation or benefits if they were injured at work, and these benefits should be paid in a timely manner. However, most employees don't fully understand and hence do not exercise these rights provided under their contracts and may cower into silence and compliance. Below are some facts that will empower you to fight for your rights if you've been injured in the workplace.

1. Workers' compensation doesn't depend on proof of fault

Workers' compensation claims can be filed even when the employer isn't directly to blame for your injury – they differ from personal injury claims in this way. Regardless of the party at fault causing the workplace injury, the employer's insurer may compensate the injured party. Therefore, you're still entitled to filing a claim whether the injury was caused by yourself, a colleague, the employer or even another person that doesn't work at the company, provided it occurred in your workplace.

However, there are circumstances that limit or remove liability from your employer. Cases where an employee was knowingly or deliberately negligent and hence caused injury exempt you from receiving compensation: for instance, if you were under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance impairing your judgement.

2. Compensation may be due for psychological injury

Workers' compensation is not only limited to physical injury and diseases that manifest physically; certain mental diseases/symptoms that can be attributed to your work environment may qualify for compensation. The law defines injury or disease to refer to both physical and mental cases. Talking to an experienced compensation lawyer can help to define whether or not your symptoms can be attributed to your job.

However, mental injury is much more difficult to attribute to the work environment, which makes these claims more difficult to pay. For example, most states exclude psychological injury as a result of 'reasonable management action' e.g. disciplinary action or failure to receive appointments, benefits or promotions. In addition, wilful misconduct not resulting in death is not payable, and neither are self-inflicted, intentional injuries or fraudulent representations.

3. Compensation must not only follow a single traumatic event

Accidents in the workplace are the most common cases in workers' compensation, but they are not the only ones. Even if you develop symptoms over time, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the employer. For instance, if you develop back or shoulder problems because you spend long hours bent over handling repetitive tasks, your employer may be liable to compensate you.

Just like psychological injury, some diseases/injuries may be difficult to attribute to your work environment. Getting legal assistance is therefore imperative if you think that your symptoms are the result of the work you do every day.