Have you recently been injured on the job? Workplace injuries are more common than you think. In fact, there are close to 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported each year. Yet, despite how common workplace injuries are, a lot of people still have no clue what to do when they get injured at work.
To make sure you get the compensation you deserve for your workplace injury, it’s very important that you take the right steps. Check out this guide to discover what to do if you’ve been injured at work.
1. File an Accident Report
If you’re injured at work, the first thing you need to do is file an accident report. Many states have very short deadlines when it comes to the amount of time you have to file a report. Because of this, you should report the accident immediately, whether or not you believe you’re injured.
Even if you walk away from the accident uninjured, filing an accident report may prompt your employer to implement new safety measures that will prevent similar accidents from happening in the future. Plus, filing immediately will ensure that you don’t lose any legal rights.
Some states require that you report the accident in writing, while others allow you to do it verbally, so make sure you know what’s required by your state law. Just to be safe though, we recommend reporting the incident in writing, as writing a detailed description of what happened may allow you to get more money when it comes time to file your claim.
2. Seek Medical Attention
Following the accident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. If warranted, go to the emergency room for your injury. If you’re not seriously injured, make sure to check with your employer as to whether or not you need to see a certain doctor or if you can choose the doctor you see.
If your employer chooses a doctor for you whom you’re not satisfied with, you may be entitled to a second doctor’s opinion under worker’s compensation law.
3. File a Worker’s Compensation Claim
While many people think that filing a worker’s compensation claim means that you’re suing your employer, this is definitely not the case.
Filing a worker’s compensation claim simply means that you’re requesting benefits. The first step to filing your claim is to notify your employer. No matter how your employer learns of the accident, they must offer you a claim form immediately.
Until you complete the claim form, your employer is under no obligation to offer you benefits. Your employer should easily be able to provide you with the forms you need to fill out. In fact, most states require that employers have these forms handy at all times.
If your employer doesn’t have the necessary forms on hand, contact your local worker’s compensation office immediately. When filling out the form, make sure you only complete the “employee” section and remember to sign and date the form.
You should also keep a copy of the form for your records. Once filled out, return the claim form to your employer. You can either hand-deliver the form or mail it in if you’re unable to go into the office.
If you choose to mail your form, we recommend you request a certified-mail return receipt, as this will serve as proof that your form has been mailed. Should it get lost, you will not be held responsible.
It’s important to fill out and turn in these forms quickly, otherwise, you may experience a delay in your benefits.
Once your employer receives these forms, they should fill out the “employer section” and then send the completed forms to their worker’s compensation insurance company. Make sure to request a copy of the forms once your employer has completed them as well.
4. Consider Hiring a Worker’s Compensation Attorney
In some cases, it may be necessary to hire a worker’s compensation attorney. A worker’s comp attorney can help ensure that you get the compensation you deserve for your injury.
Here are some signs you need to hire a worker’s compensation attorney:
- Your employer outright denies your claim
- You’ve been waiting for a while for your employer to pay your benefits
- The settlement offer won’t cover all of your losses
- The settlement offer will only pay a portion of your medical bills
- You’re suffering from partial or total disability
- You’re planning on applying for social security disability benefits
- Your employer strikes back when you file a claim
- Due to filing a claim, you’ve become a subject of workplace harassment
- The injury you’ve sustained at work is due to someone else’s actions
- Your injuries resulted from a physical assault at work
All of these scenarios are an excellent reason to hire a worker’s compensation attorney. When searching for a worker’s compensation attorney, make sure you don’t just hire the first one you come across on Google.
To ensure that your case goes smoothly, you need to make sure you do your research when hiring an attorney. Here are some tips to keep in mind when searching for a lawyer:
- Take advantage of free consultations
- Gather recommendations from friends and family members
- Read online reviews
- Make sure the lawyer you hire has experience with your type of case
- Make sure you understand how you’ll be charged
With these tips, it should be much easier to find the right lawyer for your needs.
5. Avoid Common Mistakes
After being injured at work, there are a lot of mistakes that people make that prevent them from getting the compensation they deserve.
Here are the top mistakes you need to avoid after you’ve been injured at work:
- Not reporting your injury in a timely manner
- Not disclosing previous injuries (this can be skewed as being untruthful)
- Not disclosing all injuries
- Not returning to work when you’re able to
- Being the only one without representation
Now that you know what to do if you’ve been injured at work, you should be better prepared in the event of an accident. Make sure to comment below if you have any questions about workplace injuries.