Getting injured at work is no fun event, and it’s even more harrowing if you don’t know what to do after.
Do you report it? If so, where? Do you need a lawyer?
Questions like these are asked by unsuspecting injured people every day – so take the steps you can now to ensure you can walk away from any situation – even a work injury – with both a sense of relief and proper compensation.
1. Get medical attention.
Obviously, you don’t want to skip this step. Getting medical attention to ensure a healthy recovery should be your first priority.
Without it, the rest of the process will be even more complicated – you may deal with more serious injuries, or even lose a basis for worker’s compensation if you do not consult with a doctor.
If your injuries are serious, call 911 get to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
If not, go to urgent care or a doctor to be checked out or get stitches.
2. Tell your supervisor what happened.
Don’t sweep this under the rug, or you will not get the compensation you deserve.
Immediately following the injury (and after obtaining medical treatment if needed) inform your supervisor of what happened and ask to file a report.
This will document your injury claim for possible future complications and any court proceedings that may ensue.
Be specific in your report, detailing exactly what happened (Did something fall? etc…) and what you were doing at the time.
If you were doing something you were not supposed to be, like carrying boxes across a floor clearly marked wet, you may be less likely to get compensation.
3. Make Detailed Notes
Making detailed notes as soon as possible is vital. Taking notes at or after your actions are considered contemporaneous.
The value of having ‘contemporaneous notes’ is they are likely more accurate, as less time has passed for them to be impacted by your memory and therefore also have higher legal value.
What should you document? Everything. This includes:
- When and how did the injury occur.
- The names of any witnesses.
- All discussions you have with others about the incident such as your supervisor / employer / workers compensation / your doctor.
- Steps you are taking for recovery.
4. File the proper workers’ compensation form provided by your state’s government.
A simple internet search can point you in the direction of the right form for reporting this incident.
Be sure to fill this out and mail it to the appropriate address as soon as you can to get the compensation process started as soon as possible, because waiting too long after the date of injury can put you at risk for not being entitled to the compensation you otherwise would have been entitled.
5. Recover from your injury.
Whether you need follow-up medical appointments or not, the process of recovering from a workplace injury is both physical and psychological.
Take time to rest – read a book, watch TV, go on slow walks outside, etc… Keep up a healthy diet, too, and make the most of this time away from the office to get the most out of your healing.
6. If you are contacted to appear in court, go and get a lawyer.
This is important because you need good representation who can speak on your behalf and help you get the compensation you deserve – not someone simply looking for a quick settlement while you are vulnerable.
When working with a lawyer, be sure you show them all of your documentation they need to build the best case, as well as to discuss the entire background of your history with the company and what happened during the incident.
The last thing you want is for your attorney to be caught unaware of some of the facts behind your injury because you neglected to share a relevant piece of information.
This could damage your case and prevent you from getting compensation.
7. Complete the process.
During and after any court proceedings, your attorney will file any paperwork needed to confirm your compensation.
Also, be sure you attend every court proceeding.
This may be a time when you need to get extra organized to ensure you’re not missing anything important relating to your case.
An attorney can help ensure that all the proper steps are taken.
So, again, work with an attorney the is genuine and experienced in the area of workplace injuries.
8. Get back to work!
Once you’re healthy again, return to the workplace as soon as possible to regain normality in your life and put this event behind you.
While workplace injuries can be traumatic, you can heal from them.
When you return to work, exercise necessary caution – be confident that you have handled the situation the best way possible and have completed a long and complicated process with dignity and poise!
Follow these steps following a workplace injury. You, as an employee, deserve the best possible working conditions, and if they are not provided to you, resulting in an injury, you have the right to compensation.