All employers are required by law to protect their employees’ safety, health, and general welfare while at work. Every state requires that businesses carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees who suffer work injuries or illnesses and pay related medical expenses and monetary benefits regardless of who was at fault.
If you’ve sustained an injury at work, you may need legal representation to protect your rights. But for most people, a first-time workplace injury can be confusing due to the limited knowledge they have on what they should do after being injured at work. Here’s what you should do:
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
For workplace injuries that need immediate emergency medical attention, your first priority is to see a doctor. Most employers have a list of recommended doctors in their workers’ compensation health care network. If you’re unsure about this, ask your employer. The reason why you need to choose a doctor who satisfies your employer’s workers’ compensation classifications is so that you don’t forfeit your rights to benefits.
Be sure to share every detail about the injury, including how it happened, when it happened, and the exact injuries. It’s important to seek medical attention no matter how minor or major the injury might be. The doctor will assess your injuries and write a comprehensive report that will assist legal proceedings in your workers’ compensation claim. Documentation is crucial when reporting workplace injuries because your medical records will be requested when you make a claim.
Report Your Workplace Injury to Your Employer
As soon as you’re able to, inform your employer about your workplace injury and how it happened. Write down every detail of the injury before discussing it with anyone so you can be sure that everything is stated accurately. Follow internal procedures when reporting. Inform your supervisor or manager verbally and submit a written or emailed notification as definitive proof. Don’t wait for the pain to go away or a few days to pass to notify your employer.
Swift reporting is critical, so there’s no doubt where, when, and how your injury occurred. Your employer should reply and request you to complete a workplace incident report explaining the details of the injury. If you don’t get this form, request it immediately. Again, keep copies of every document you submit for your records. According to an Austin personal injury law firm, lack of documentation is one of the reasons why lawyers may not take your case: click here to learn more.
Document All Expenses and Time Off From Work
Depending on the type and extent of your injuries, you may qualify for one or more workers’ compensation benefits. These include managed care, medical care management, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and wage reimbursement. In most cases, partial lost wages and reasonable medical expenses will be covered. With this in mind, you should keep an accurate record of all expenses you have incurred related to the injury and time off from work.
Keep all the receipts from doctor visits, laboratory tests, surgeries, medication, and medical equipment like wheelchairs or crutches. Your recorded expenses and medical documentation will play a huge role in building your claim and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. Of course, you’ll have to take time off work to seek on-going medical attention and recover from your injuries. Keep a record of this as you may be entitled to welfare benefits.
Don’t Admit Liability
After sustaining a workplace injury, emotions may be running high, and at that moment, you may find yourself admitting fault to the incident. The additional stress of seeking medical attention and recovering while away from work may also be a challenge. However, if the accident was due to the negligence of your employer or a third-party, the liability is theirs and not yours. Admitting liability may hinder your chances of filing a claim and getting fair compensation.
Your employer may try to convince you otherwise or request you to sign documents admitting fault for the accident at work. If you feel you’re being pressured into admitting liability or signing any document that you don’t understand, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer immediately. Keep in mind that every state has a statute of limitations that requires injured workers to report a workplace injury within a state-mandated time frame to avoid forfeiting your rights to a claim.
Hire an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
After seeking medical attention, informing your employer, and documenting all records, the next step is pursuing legal action against your employer. This will help you get full compensation for your injuries and suffering. Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will help you understand your legal rights as an injured worker. The legal complexities of workers’ compensation law may be too complicated for you to understand.
Seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience with personal injuries that result from accidents in the workplace. A lawyer will help collect sufficient evidence need to file a strong claim. A good lawyer should take you through each step of the claim process and do their best to ensure you get the full compensation you deserve. Hiring a lawyer to represent you is wise so you can focus on your health and recovery.
Follow the Recommended Treatment Plan and Be Patient
It’s important to follow the recommended course of treatment and recovery to increase your chances of getting benefits and continue receiving them. If you’re not satisfied with the level of medical care you’re receiving for your injuries, you can change doctors or seek a second opinion. Workers’ compensation claims take time to be settled. The good news is, your lawyer will be there with you every step of the way and keep you updated.
Now that your workers’ compensation claim is in the right hands, it’s time for you to focus on recovery from your injuries. If you have any questions about your injury claim, you should always ask your lawyer. Workers’ compensation laws are meant to protect workers and cover any injury that occurs as a direct result of workplace duties. Unfortunately, employers and their insurers may fail to act in good faith and follow the laws.
A workers’ compensation lawyer protects your rights and ensures you get the full benefits you deserve. If you get an injury at your workplace, take these steps and increase your chances of getting a positive outcome for your compensation claim.