It’s impossible to completely avoid work injuries. You can follow all the safety rules, take every precaution, and you may still end up in a situation where you’re suffering from a workplace injury and out of work.
Regardless of what caused your injury—whether it’s because of your clumsiness or events out of your control such as disasters or terrorist attacks like the infamous 9/11 tragedy—if you get injured at work, you can receive compensation from workers’ insurance or federal programs like the 9/11 compensation fund. Check out this full post to learn more.
That said, there are certain steps you need to take after an occupational injury:
1. Consult A Doctor Right Away
Your immediate safety and condition are of the utmost importance. Thus, consulting a doctor right away should be your first concern after an injury. This is especially true if it’s a major accident like in construction sites or a car accident for truck drivers.
Getting immediate medical help after your injury can help in starting your recovery process. Make sure to have your injuries are treated or have a medical professional check anything that feels sore and hurt after the injury.
It may be excessive, but you should consider going to the emergency room after a major workplace injury, even if you don’t feel any symptoms. Some injuries don’t show up right away.
If you think you’re not seriously injured, you can ask your employer if they require you to see a specific doctor. If an employer chooses a doctor and you’re not satisfied with how things went, then you can see another doctor of your choosing. You’re entitled to have a second opinion under the workers’ compensation laws.
2. Get Copies Of Medical Records
Medical records are essential in proving that your injuries were the result of a workplace accident and another individual’s negligence or the issues within premises such as slippery floors. These records can help in your pursuit of getting compensated. Thus, it’s important that your diagnosis and medical treatment steps are recorded clearly and properly.
3. Take Pictures
Taking pictures may be the last thing in your mind if you’ve been in a workplace injury, but it can be valuable in building your claim. You can take pictures of the scene of your accident and the surrounding area.
Also, you need to take photos of any physical injuries you have. No one will criticize you for taking multiple photos of the accident. It’s one of the smartest things you can do after an occupational accident.
4. File An Accident Report
Most states have very short deadlines by which an employee must report an accident to be covered under workers’ compensation laws. Thus, you should report any accident in which you’ve been involved while on the job—whether or not you believe you’re injured.
Even if you’re unscathed from the accident, your report can cause your employer to establish and implement new safety measures to prevent accidents and worker’s injuries from happening to you or other employees in the future. Plus, filing an incident report immediately can protect you in case you experience symptoms weeks or even months after the accident.
5. File A Claim
Once you’ve notified your employer or filed an accident report, the next thing you should do is to file a compensation claim. Your employer should provide you with a claim form immediately.
Until this form is completed, your employer has no obligation to provide you with benefits or compensation. After properly completing the form, return it to your employer and keep a copy of the claim form for your records.
Your employer will have to complete the ‘Employer’ section of the form and forward it to their insurance company. Your employer should provide you with a copy of the completed claim form. Otherwise, you can ask for your copy.
6. Consult A Lawyer
Prior to filing a claim, another smart move you can make is to consult with a lawyer who has experience in handling workplace injury and workers’ compensation claims.
An experienced attorney can help you determine what benefits you’re entitled to receive. In addition, having a trusted lawyer during the whole process can significantly help you throughout the entire process.
They advocate and fight for your right to get fair compensation for your injuries. Also, they can help remove the stress of dealing with all the lengthy filing process and legal matters, so you can focus more on your physical recovery.
And there you have it! We hope that you never have to follow the above steps outlined. But in the unfortunate case that you become injured at work, these steps can help to ensure that you’re compensated for what happened to you.