A workplace injury is a serious issue. Accidents happen, but it’s up to your employer to ensure that your workplace is kept as safe as possible. This means providing the environment, equipment, and training to ensure that you have what you need to go home safely at the end of the day.
If you sustain an injury at work, you should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. Even if you choose not to file right away, follow these initial tips to protect yourself down the road.
Report Your Injury to Your Supervisor Immediately
Tell your supervisor the moment you are injured, even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal at the time. For example, you work in a restaurant, and the dishwasher is leaking, causing you to slip and fall. At that moment, the shock and embarrassment might overpower any physical sensations you have. Over the next few days, however, the injury might become apparent.
Not all workplace accidents have immediate results. However, if you fail to report, you’ll have a weak case if you choose to file a claim later. Let your supervisor know about your injury, preferably in writing.
Be sure to document everything that happened. What caused the incident? When did it happen? What were you doing immediately beforehand? What happened shortly after?
By writing this down when it’s fresh in your mind, you’re more likely to remember the pertinent details. Don’t hesitate to take photos of where the accident took place, focusing on any environmental factors (a wet floor, for example) that could have caused it. If you’ve reported to your supervisor, ask for a copy of the incident report for your records.
Visit a Doctor
As a part of the documentation process, it’s essential to visit a health care provider right away. This should take place even if the only apparent injury is a bruised ego. A medical visit creates a notable timeline and can help you be proactive in detecting any issues that might cause harm down the road.
Be mindful of who your doctor works for. If you have a family doctor that you’ve been visiting for years, you can likely trust that they have your best interests at heart. If you visit a doctor recommended by the insurance company of your employer, it’s worth your while to get a second, unbiased opinion.
Seek Advice from an Attorney
If you decide to pursue a workers’ compensation, you should hire an attorney who specializes in that area. While your injury might seem like a cut-and-dry case, there’s a lot of ambiguity and loopholes that your attorney will be able to protect you from and use to your advantage.
A lot can happen regarding how you’ll receive compensation after your claim is filed, according to zavodnicklaw.com. Choosing to return to work, stay off for an extended period or settling at some point throughout the case can impact the compensation you receive, and how it’s distributed. By having an expert on your side, you’ll be able to get the best possible deal.
Be Cooperative but Firm
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is a process. You may be asked to go over your story multiple times, submit to various examinations, and deal with prolonged legal proceedings. Being patient and cooperative is the best way to get positive results.
That being said, there’s a difference between being cooperative and being taken advantage of. Don’t let your employer pressure you into settling or taking the blame or go out of your way to make your life difficult. Having an attorney on your side can be a sounding board and a shield from pushy employers and insurance professionals.
Hopefully, you never experience a workplace injury that causes loss of income or long-term disability. However, knowing what steps to take if an injury occurs can protect you in the long run.