For immigrant workers, getting hurt on the job can cause many other problems. An injury can mean not being able to work, which means no income. In some cases, a protracted leave of absence could impact your visa. Other times, it will just damage your household’s budget.
Requiring medical care means you will have bills from the hospital or office that treats you, even if you have health insurance. Workers’ compensation benefits reduce the financial risks workers have from doing a job. Workers who get hurt can receive a portion of their lost wages. The same is true for workers who get sick because of their job.
On-the-job injuries also entitle workers to medical coverage. Some workers don’t seek these benefits because of their immigration status or inability to speak English. Immigrant workers with a language barrier may struggle to get the medical care they need or to understand what care or treatment they need. Not all of them know that they have a right to translation services at a medical facility.
Health care facilities should help those with language barriers
Difficulty communicating in English can make life difficult. When it comes to following medical orders and explaining what caused the condition, language barriers can be highly problematic. Proper communication between patient and doctor is very important.
Patients can suffer a misdiagnosis or may not perform the necessary follow-up if a language barrier exists between doctor and patient. In order to ensure that patients from all backgrounds receive adequate care, there are federal rules mandating translation services in medical facilities.
Knowing your rights can help you stand up for them
If you don’t know to ask for translation services, you might try to muddle your way through an appointment with little success or ask a family member to translate. Some people may even bypass getting care at all because of a language barrier issue.
As someone with a work-related injury, it is important that you get the care you need so that you can get back to your job. Asking for translation services if you need them can help you on your path to recovery. Getting help and support while filing a workers’ compensation claim and asking your employer for accommodations can also help you during this difficult time.