Workplace accidents occur unexpectedly and can affect anyone. After getting hurt in a workplace accident, you are entitled to employees’ compensation benefits to recover the lost wages and pay medical costs as well as potential permanent disability benefits. Nevertheless, you can get confused about what to do after the accident, especially when you get traumatized by the occurrences and worried about your recovery.
This situation can be devastating, especially when you sustain severe injuries and cannot go back to work for a prolonged period. Here are the five things you should do when you fall victim to a workplace accident.
1. Report the Accident to Your Employer
After the accident, ensure you inform your employer or manager about the occurrences and do it within the shortest time possible. If you don’t do so within the required time, your employer and employees’ compensation insurance organizations can deny the claims. Also, informing the management can help prevent such accidents from occurring.
2. Seek Medical Attention
After getting involved in an accident while at work, seek medical care straight away. Even when you don’t have any visible injuries, you could have sustained internal injuries like concussions, and if not treated promptly, they could worsen. In addition, medical reports play a significant role in helping you get workplace accident claims, and if you don’t get treated, you will not have enough evidence to support your claims. When you seek medical care for the first time, ensure you notify your doctor that you got injured while at work and ensure they record that information in the medical report. In most cases, employers and employees’ compensation insurance organizations deny such claims if the first medical report doesn’t show that you got the injury while at work.
3. Collect All the Evidence
After getting medical attention, ensure you have all the medical bills, written reports, insurance records, and other documents relating to the accident. If possible, take a video or pictures of the sustained injuries and the scene. Also, keep a record of all days you missed work and all out-of-pocket and travel costs. Most states’ employees’ compensation regulations require the compensation insurance company to pay you weekly wage replacement if you miss work for seven days. You must also get compensated if you cover over 20 miles when seeking medical care. In addition, you should get a refund for all healthcare costs you cater for out of your pocket. However, you need proper documentation to receive all these benefits, so gather all the evidence.
4. File a Claim
After an accident, employees’ compensation benefits can cover your medical bills, lost wages, travel expenses, and other losses. Thus, make sure you submit your claims as soon as possible. Filing a compensation claim can help you recover all the costs you have incurred because of the accident. An employees’ compensation claim is a request for benefits, not a lawsuit against your employer. To file this claim, ask for a claim file from your employer. If they cannot provide, reach out to your state’s workers’ compensation office for assistance. Ensure you fill out all the required details in the “Employee” section, including your sign and date. Don’t forget to keep your copy.
5. Contact an Attorney
Navigating through this complicated legal process can become stressful and confusing. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters get trained to take recorded statements to use against you to ensure you lose the case. So, if you decide to claim your compensation by yourself, you will probably lose the case due to the lack of knowledge and experience. That’s why you should work closely with an L&I lawyer to help work through the process. An attorney can help you fill out and file the claims, deal with the compensation insurance organization, and make sure you receive the proper medical care and the wages you deserve. As a result, you will get enough time to concentrate on your psychological and physical recovery. A good attorney will not charge you unless they recover the compensation.
Having comprehensive knowledge about what you should do following a workplace accident can help you get compensated. If you’ve sustained a workplace injury, make sure to report the accident, seek medical attention, gather evidence, file a claim, and contact an attorney. Use these five steps outlined above to help guide you during this serious event and to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.
Author information: Sierra Powell graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a major in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing. When she’s not writing, she loves to cook, sew, and go hiking with her dogs.