What to Do If You’re Hurt at Work: 9 Steps to Take
The private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal injuries at the workplace in 2018. The statistic shows the prevalence of workplace injuries, especially in high-risk occupations. Unfortunately, most employees don’t know the steps they need to take when hurt at work.
Workers must seek compensation after work injuries. Workers’ compensation allows you to recover money spent on medical bills and lost wages. With a qualified lawyer, it will be easier to get your rightful compensation.
Are you wondering what to do when hurt at work? Here are the right steps to take as an employee.
Get Medical Assistance
Your health should be a priority. Companies often have an approved doctor that you’ll see once your employer is notified about the accident. If unsatisfied, you can visit your own doctor to get a second opinion.
Some businesses have on-site healthcare providers, whom you should see for further guidance. Getting medical assistance should be a priority, whether or not you have visible injuries. The doctor will rule out any internal injuries that you might never know of until it’s too late.
You need to explain to your doctor how the accident happened, the parts of your body that felt the most impact, and symptoms. The doctor should know that you intend to file for workers comp to have a comprehensive medical record. While at it, follow your doctor’s medical instructions as failure to do so will jeopardize your claim.
Inform Your Employer
Estimated undercounts for workplace injuries can be as high as 70%. The inaccuracy of workplace injuries in the U.S. mostly results from underreporting. Some employees fail to report workplace injuries primarily due to the fear of losing their jobs.
You need to report workplace accidents to your employer, regardless of how minor they might appear. Despite informing your supervisor about the accident verbally, you need to provide written notice to your employer. It would be best to give the written notice as soon as possible as delays can increase your chances of having a rejected claim.
Describe the accident in the written notice. Provide details of what happened, where you got hurt, date, and time of the incident. The letter doesn’t have to be formal as long as it provides the necessary details to help in your settlement.
It is crucial to have a copy of the notification. In case of any future conflicting information, you can always prove that you reported the incident to your employer. Your lawyer can also have the copy to help with the case if a need to file a suit arises.
Notify Your Colleagues
Colleagues are the ideal witnesses when filing for workers’ compensation. They can describe the accident to show how it occurred. If you’re were working alone when you got into an accident, you need to let your coworkers know what happened.
It’s not surprising for employers and insurers to dispute your claim. They might also want to offer lower compensation if your accident details aren’t precise. The statements from your colleagues can make all the difference.
More importantly, your colleagues will work towards ensuring that they don’t run in the same accident. They will know the course of action to take if they got hurt at work in the future.
Take Relevant Photos and Videos
Photos can strengthen your workplace injury case. It would be best to take photos of the place the accident occurred and your injuries. The information will prove useful when filing for compensation.
Take several photos from different angles. Videos can also work as evidence when filing for a claim. The more evidence you’ll have, the more likely it will be to get your rightful compensation.
If your injuries limit your ability to take photos, request a colleague to take photos of your injuries and the accident. Keep the images to present them to your lawyer. Picture evidence will communicate more details than what you’ve probably included in the written notice.
Consult a Workplace Injury Attorney
It would be best if you chose a qualified attorney for workers compensation for you to get the rightful compensation. The complexity of workers’ compensation laws can overwhelm you. The process of filing a claim has deadlines that you might miss out on if you’re doing it without any assistance from a lawyer.
Insurance adjusters try to get statements that can discredit your claim. If it’s your first time dealing with a workers’ compensation insurance, you’ll be frustrated. A workers’ compensation attorney will do everything on your behalf.
An experienced attorney will ensure that you recover from your injuries and get your wages even when you’re out of work. The workers’ comp lawyer makes filing a claim easier. You’ll also get a lump sum amount as settlement, which you’d otherwise not manage when pursuing the case solo.
The best part about workers’ compensation attorneys is that they work based on a contingency fee. You won’t need to pay any upfront fees or charges to the lawyer. These attorneys get a percentage of the amount you get as compensation, which prompts lawyers to do their best in getting you the settlement.
File a Claim
Your employer should provide you with a claim form as soon as you report the accident. The employer can only offer benefits once the form is complete. Most states mandate employers to give injured employees the forms to start the process of filing a claim.
If your employer doesn’t have the forms, contact the Workers’ Compensation Office in your state. Complete the ‘Employee’ section, include the date and your signature on the claim form. Be sure to have a copy of this claim form for future reference.
Return the form to your boss for completion of the ‘Employer’ section. Your employer will then forward the claim to the insurance company dealing with workers’ compensation. Typically, the workers’ compensation insurance company should mail you after 14 days to notify you of your claim’s status.
Have a Post-Accident Journal
When hurt at work, it’s possible to lose track of activities. You might be quite focused on the recovery journey. However, it is advisable to keep a journal where you document post-accident activities.
You can opt to write or type everything you would deem crucial when filing for a claim. Ensure that you’re able to access the information as you’ll need it in the future. While your doctor already has a medical record, your journal will complement the details recorded.
With a post-accident journey, you can write everything to explain how the accident has impacted your life. Include all the details, even if they seem irrelevant. It will be easier to prove the implications of the accident even months later.
Keep a Record of Missed Work Days and Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Did you know that the production days lost following work-related injuries are at least 104,000,000? Most of the common workplace injuries keep workers away from work for days or even months. If you miss work, you need to have a record of days missed.
You need to receive wages as per the company’s policy once you get hurt at work. Employers often pay for the first seven days an injured worker misses work. After the 7-day waiting period, ensure that you keep a diary of days away from work for rightful compensation.
It would also help to have a record of any out-of-pocket expenses. Record the medical expenses you incur for it to be included in the compensation. Depending on your state, you can get reimbursement forms, where you can include all the details.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders and Honor Appointments
Your employer will most likely select a doctor to treat you. The doctor can order some medications, operations, or other treatments necessary for your full recovery. Your doctor can also request changes, especially in your work schedule.
You might not resonate with all the doctor’s orders, especially if your injuries are seemingly minor. If you’re not satisfied with the diagnosis and treatment, you can always visit your preferred healthcare provider. Whichever option you choose, following the doctor’s orders and keeping appointments shouldn’t be debatable.
The process of filing for workers’ comp involves proving that you followed all the advice from your healthcare provider. A missed appointment can jeopardize your chances of getting the right compensation. Be keen on the medication and the appointments as they will play a significant role when you file for a claim.
Being Hurt at Work Is a Common Phenomenon
The many cases of workplace accidents prove that the issue is quite prevalent. You might need to be armed with information to know the steps to take when hurt at work. The wrong move can reduce your chances of getting compensated after a workplace injury.
You might need to get a workers’ compensation attorney to help with your settlement. Given the complexity of the workers’ comp process, working with a qualified lawyer is the best decision. You will only focus on your recovery journey as your lawyer handles every other detail concerning compensation.
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