WHAT TO DO WHEN:
Over the next several months, we will issue a series of articles called “What To Do When”. This series is intended to help explain important steps that can be taken to protect yourself and your rights in the event of an injury or accident.
This month, what to do when….
You get injured at work
1.Report Your Injury
The single most important step you can take to protect yourself when you get injured on the job is to report the injury in a timely manner. You should be sure to know your employer’s procedure for reporting an injury. You may be required to complete an accident report or give a recorded statement. While these requirements may seem cumbersome, it is actually a good thing. Accident reports and recorded statements will help to prevent an insurance company from denying that an incident occurred.
Do not wait to report your injury! Many of our cases involve injured workers who waited before reporting an injury. This occurs for various different reasons. Sometimes, the injured person may feel that his or her injury is not serious and will resolve on its own. Simply put, at the time that an injury happens, especially when dealing with a back injury, it is difficult to tell how serious or lasting the injury may be. Its better to report an incident as soon as possible and have it turn out to not be serious than to wait and end up having to report the work accident days or weeks later. Insurance companies are always suspicious of late reporting! Don’t give an insurance company the tools they need to deny your valid claim!
Timely reporting is especially important if you are working alone.
2. Seek Medical Attention
Once the issue has been reported, it is important to seek medical attention. This is important for several reasons. First and foremost, if you are injured, getting prompt medical attention is the first step towards resolving your injury. Secondly, the medical records generated by your medical treatment will document your injury.
Keeping this in mind, be sure to give your medical treater an accurate history of how the injury occurred. If you were injured at work, it is important to tell them that you were injured at work. This is especially important if you are receiving initial medical treatment at an emergency room or urgent care facility that does not exclusively treat work related injuries.
Your employer may refer you to an occupational health facility. This is OK. Do not think that you will be required to receive all of your treatment at this type of a facility if you agree to go for an initial evaluation. These facilities can be helpful ways to obtain quick medical attention to address a work injury. It is also important to know that you have the right to choose your own specialist, subject to some limitations. For questions on this issue, you should ask an attorney.
3. Call a Lawyer
Obtaining the assistance of an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney early in the process can help to assure that you get off on the right track. They will make sure to assist you in filing the necessary paperwork to initiate your claim, call the insurance company on your behalf, direct you patient-oriented medical providers and answer any questions you may have about how the Workers’ Compensation system functions.