A workplace injury can be a frightening and worrying experience. Horror stories about workmen’s compensation battles are common and you may worry about the decisions your employer may make. There are steps you must take to protect yourself.
If you notice that you’re in pain or struggling after a workplace event, make sure to connect with the right workplace contact. This should be covered in your employee manual. If not, report directly to your supervisor. Document these communications, either by email or by date and time. It’s important to note that you may have up to three years to make a claim, depending on your state of residency. For clarity and accuracy, it’s best that you report immediately.
Follow Medical Instructions
If you are directed to a workers’ compensation doctor, keep those appointments. Be ready to stand firm on your symptoms, the nature of the injury and your resulting challenges. The quality of medical care available after a workplace injury may be quite different from what you’re accustomed to at your doctor’s office. This may be frustrating and you may feel threatened or even discounted. Be polite, but firm. Use this same communication style when letting your employer know of any limitations placed on you by the workers’ compensation physician.
Get Additional Help
Your employer has several steps they need to follow through on after a workplace injury or accident. This documentation should be filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA and should ultimately be available for your review. If you feel unheard or are concerned that your health challenges are not being properly addressed, it may be time to talk to a personal injury lawyer. This step should not be taken lightly and you should never use this consideration as a threat to your employer.
If you can’t work at all after an accident, you should be entitled to compensation after a set amount of time, such as a 3-day waiting period. These spans of time differ from state to state. Your employer is required to compensate you if you’re unable to get to your job or perform effectively. You may suffer lost time but should not suffer lost wages. If they don’t compensate you regularly, they may face penalties.
Workplace injuries should be taken seriously by all parties. No matter the cause of your injury, you deserve access to medical care and coverage from lost wages. Document all communications with your employer and your medical advisors. Follow all limitation guidelines. Keep lines of communication open as you heal. Consult an attorney if you feel you’re not being treated justly.
Author Bio: Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2