No one plans on getting injured at work. But when an injury occurs, all of a sudden, you need to know what to do. The steps that you take after a work injury are very important to not only your physical recovery, but also to making sure that you get the financial relief that you need to get your life back in order. Here are four steps to take after being injured at work:
1. Make an accident report
Your ability to recover after an accident may depend on making a report as soon as you can after an accident. If your case falls under workers compensation laws in your state, you may need to make an accident report within a very short time after the accident occurs in order to state your claim. You make your report directly to your employer. Your employer should have a form, and they should be able to help you with the procedures for how to file your report.
It’s not enough to make an oral report to a co-worker or a supervisor. A written report is what’s required in order to start the ball rolling with your claim. When you make the report, you should include the basics of your accident. You should include when, where and how the injury occurred. Don’t worry too much about getting every last bit of punctuation perfect and don’t stress too much over details. You just need to document that the accident occurred and give the basic information.
The time window for filing your report may be very short. The sooner you can get a report filed, the better. It’s important to be skeptical of any attempts to dissuade you or otherwise stop you from filing a written report. Your employer should be able to guide you through the process, and it should be quite simple to file your report. When you get your report filed, you’ve taken the first important step in ensuring that you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
2. Get appropriate medical care
The next step to take after being injured at work is to get immediate medical care. You might need to call emergency services to take you to the hospital. If your injuries are severe, you may be incapacitated and rely on others to summon the care that you need. Whether you leave the scene in an ambulance or you’re able to travel to the doctor on your own, you need to seek medical care immediately.
There are several reasons that it’s critical to seek medical attention as soon as you can after you’re injured at work. First, seeking medical care may be critical to your health. You want to address your injuries so they don’t get worse. Knowing what you need to do in order to care for your injuries is critical to making sure that you begin to heal as soon as possible.
It’s important to follow your medical treatment plan. You don’t want your employer claiming that your injuries aren’t serious because you aren’t following your doctor’s recommendations. You also don’t want your employer to claim that the costs of your injury may have been lower if only you had followed your medical care plan. Following your treatment plan is critical to preserving your right to fair compensation for your work injury.
There’s another reason that it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away. A significant part of getting fair, financial compensation after a work injury is documenting exactly what your injuries are. Your injuries may be far more serious than you realize. You may not be able to appreciate exactly what your prognosis is without a full medical evaluation. Your medical treatment team can not only get to the bottom of your diagnosis, but they can also verify and document your injuries in case there are any disputes about them later on.
3. Take photos of the scene of the injury
Even though you’re not a professional investigator, there are things that you can do to gather the evidence that’s available at the scene of your injury. The more evidence you can gather, the stronger your claim is going to be right off the bat. One of the things that can help you get off to a great start when it comes to building your case after being injured at work is taking photos of the accident scene.
You don’t need to be a photographer to get helpful photos of the accident scene. Snapping photos up close and also of the overall scene can show machinery, slippery surfaces and other things that may have contributed to the accident. It’s always better to over-document than under-document, so don’t be shy about taking a lot of photos.
Even if you don’t know what’s the most important, having photographs of the scene can help you establish facts that are critical later on. Witnesses may not be honest, and they can be mistaken. If you have photographs, you have helpful proof of facts that may be critical to proving your claim.
4. Learn about workers compensation and negligence laws
The best way to ensure that you get the recovery that you deserve and find satisfaction in the recovery process is to educate yourself about the laws that apply to your case. Many work injuries fall under workers compensation law. Even though workers compensation laws generally compensate injured employees for their out of pocket losses after an accident at work, there are still steps to take in order to assert your claim and get a recovery that you deserve. The more that you know about the laws that apply, the more confidence that you can have that your case is moving in the right direction.
Wilson Ratledge can help you understand the law that applies to the case. Workers compensation laws may apply, but traditional negligence laws may also apply in some cases. We can advocate on your behalf, and can empower you to understand the law and know that it’s working on your behalf to arrive at the right result after an injury at work.
Taking the right steps after a work accident
An injury at work is a serious matter. You may not be able to return to work immediately, and you may have medical bills and other losses. When you know what to do after a work injury, you can take the right steps to get the compensation that you deserve. Seeking medical care, making the right reports, taking photographs of the scene and empowering yourself to learn about the law can help you recover physically and financially as you move forward after an injury at work.