Workplace injuries can seriously disrupt your life. And while many injuries are relatively minor, significant injuries can require extensive medical care and time off work. To make sure you receive workers’ compensation benefits and any additional compensation you may need, it’s essential to act quickly after an injury. Here’s what to do.
1. Report It to Your Employer
This might seem like a logical step, but in the process of obtaining treatment for an injury, it can be easy to forget to report it to your employer. And in the event of a workers’ compensation claim, insurance companies will sometimes point to a delay in reporting as a reason to deny the claim.
When you do report the injury to your employer, being thorough is vital. Tell your employer where and how the injury happened. Be sure to say if someone else was involved, and offer any evidence showing the employer what happened.
When you report, your employer should immediately give you the necessary paperwork to file a claim. If they don’t, make sure you request it. Once you get the paperwork, fill it out and file it as soon as possible. Any delays may negatively impact your claim.
2. Write Everything Down
Throughout the course of your claim, you may be asked about the accident many times. If your story is inconsistent or has many holes, the claim is less likely to be paid out. As soon as possible after the injury, write down everything that happened.
It’s important to be as thorough as possible here: include times, locations, and exactly how the injury happened. When writing this account, stick to the facts. Make sure you don’t exaggerate the details.
If there are witnesses, be sure to take down their contact information. Insurance companies or attorneys may need to contact any witnesses in order to corroborate your story. Having reliable witnesses also increases the chances of your claim being approved.
3. Take Photos
Most workers’ compensation cases require a significant amount of documentation. And while medical bills and records are important to keep, photos are also an especially effective way of showing the severity of your injury.
Take photos of any injuries as soon as you can. Of course, don’t delay medical treatment in order to do so! Make sure you have these photos saved in at least two locations to make sure you’ll always have access to them.
4. Consult an Attorney
Workers’ compensation claims can take some time to settle. And to make sure you get the compensation you deserve, consulting an attorney specializing in this area is a good idea.
For example, if you live and work in Florida, contacting a personal injury lawyer in Lakeland, FL is a key first step after you suffer a major workplace injury. In the event of negotiation or arbitration, an attorney can represent your best interests.
If your claim is denied or if there was negligence on the part of your employer, a workers’ compensation suit may be in order. A lawyer can go over the facts of your case and advise you on what to do next. Many workers’ compensation attorneys offer free consultations, so even if you aren’t completely sure you need legal representation, there’s no harm in speaking with one about your situation.
5. Keep All Medical Evidence
For a workers’ compensation claim to be effective, it needs to include any medical bills and records. Depending on the nature of your injury, you may need several visits to doctors or hospitals.
In order to establish a clear timeline of your injury and its treatment, you’ll need to save and compile records from each visit. These records can help establish the severity of your injury and prove that you needed to take time off work for medical care.
Your claim will also need to include any medical bills. The total amount of your claim’s payout will partially depend on the cost of your medical treatment.
A successful workers’ compensation claim can go a long way toward bringing you peace of mind as you recover from an injury. Acting quickly and following the right steps will give you your best chance of a successful claim.
Author information: Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.