Getting hurt is inconvenient no matter where you are. But getting hurt at work is not the same as getting hurt at home—there are legal and insurance-related implications that need to be handled. In order to receive the benefits you deserve and to get back to work as soon as possible, here are the first five things you should do if you get injured on the job.
1. Get Medical Help
The first thing you should do when you are injured at work is get medical attention. Not only is it crucial for your health and safety, but immediate medical attention helps you document the injury. Also, if your injury happened bit by bit (like a back sprain), a doctor can help determine what conditions led to or contributed to the problem (source: OSHA).
Your medical records will be considered when processing any insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits, along with any doctor’s notes, prescriptions, and bills.
Immediate medical attention also helps you recover as quickly as possible, which means getting back to work faster.
2. Notify Your Manager or Employer
The very next step after seeking medical help is to notify your employer of the incident. Waiting to tell your employer about the injury could disqualify you from worker’s compensation benefits, depending on the regulations in your area.
3. Document Everything
Any injuries that you sustain in the workplace need to be thoroughly documented. This includes your medical records, but you should also collect or write down:
- symptoms you experienced leading up to the injury (if it’s a gradual injury like carpal tunnel).
- the events leading up to and surrounding the injury. Take pictures if possible.
- correspondence you had with your boss regarding the symptoms and/or injury.
- accident reports (if applicable).
- what work days you missed as a result of your injury.
- witness testimonies (if applicable).
4. Call your Lawyer
If you think your injury could lead to a personal injury lawsuit, or if the compensation you received wasn’t enough to cover all costs, schedule a meeting with your lawyer. Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation, a group of injury lawyers in Vancouver, recommends you prepare for the meeting with your lawyer in these ways:
- Collect all the documentation of the accident and your injury.
- Bring a list of questions you have for the lawyer.
- Research the laws regarding personal injury in the workplace for your area.
A lawyer should be able to tell you if you have a good case and will tell you what steps you need to take to pursue legal action.
5. Discuss Insurance
If you are hurt at work, your employer may be required to provide workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits typically include medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits (if applicable), and vocational rehabilitation.
There are several different ways to file a workers’ comp claim, depending on where you live. You can either file an insurance claim through your doctor or your employer. Learn your company’s policy for workers’ compensation claims—even before an injury or accident occurs. That way you will know exactly how to proceed should something happen.
You may also qualify for benefits from your insurance policy if you have your own temporary or permanent disability policy. Talk to your insurance agent about filing a claim.
Accidents and injury can be scary and stressful, but try to keep your head and take care of the situation the right way. Doing these five things as soon as possible after an incident will ensure you get the compensation you need, and will get you healthy and back to work soon as possible.
This article was written by Kandace Heller, a freelance writer from Orlando, Florida.