I recently got injured at my workplace and need some advice.
I live in New York and work for a company in New Jersey as a truck driver.
I was picking up a shipment in Iowa on Friday (11/02/2007) when the weight of a bulky item made me lose my balance. I stepped out of the truck trying to regain my balance but I fell onto my ankle twisting it 90 degrees from its original position.
Although I was in severe pain, I completed loading the truck after which I called my employer to notify him of the situation. He was very concerned about my well being and offered to pay for my plane ticket back to New York. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of nowhere so the nearest airport was 150 miles away in Omaha, NE. With a broken ankle I drove to Omaha, left the truck at a truck stop and caught a flight back to New York.
The next day I went to see a doctor in New York. He said that my ankle was fractured and I had several torn ligaments. He gave me a soft cast to wear for one week, after that I will get a hard cast for six weeks and back to a soft cast and weeks of physio therapy. All in all I will not be able to return to work for another three months or so.
Being aware that medical treatment can cost several thousand dollars ( I don't have medical insurance) according to my doc and knowing that my employer had been deducting a fee monthly for worker’s compensation for as long as I had worked there ,I brought it up in conversation.
He said he doesn’t know how it works and he has to ask his accountant. Personally, I don’t know what an accountant has to do with this situation and I feel like something is very fishy. Once when he was deducting the payments, I asked where that money was going his reply was “What do you think is going to happen if you get injured on the job? Who’s going to pay?” and suddenly, when we are faced with the situation HE IS UNSURE.
My questions are:
What could be the reason for his hesitance to provide me with information?
Is it possible that he was not making payments to worker's comp? I never received any info/booklets or anything from Worker's compensation.
Who is responsible for paying my medical bills? Me? My employer? Worker’s Comp?
Who needs to file the claim?
Is there a deadline for filing the claim?
Please give me a step-by-step of how I should proceed. Any information is much appreciated.
Thanks, in advance, for your help.