About 4,764 fatal work injuries occurred within the US in a single year. Meanwhile, employers reported 2.7 million injury and illness cases within a year. Despite how often workplace accidents happen, many people don’t know how to proceed after an incident.
Here are six steps to follow the next time they’re injured at work. Following these steps will allow you to build a case for yourself. Then, you can fight for compensation to recover losses and cover your expenses.
Read on for the six steps you need to follow after sustaining a work-related injury.
1. Inform a Supervisor
Make sure to talk to a supervisor the moment you sustain a workplace injury. Walk them through what happened. Then, ask them how to proceed.
In addition to providing guidance, your supervisor will also help you better understand your rights. They can also take the necessary steps to improve workplace safety.
You might think you’ve only sustained a minor injury and therefore don’t need to file an official report. Speak to your supervisor anyway. You’ll need to fill out the proper paperwork to fight for compensation for your losses later.
If you fail to file an official accident report, you might struggle to prove how you sustained your injuries.
Some types of injuries don’t display symptoms until weeks or even months after the accident. Cover your bases by telling your supervisor what happened.
Some states also require you to file an incident report by a specific deadline in order to receive worker’s compensation.
During your meeting with your supervisor, discuss any safety concerns you might have. Let them know what you think caused the accident. They can then make the necessary changes to your workplace to minimize the risk of future injuries.
Otherwise, you might have to continue working in dangerous workplace conditions, increasing the risk of a future accident.
2. Gather Evidence
If you’re able to, gather evidence from the scene of the accident as soon as possible. Otherwise, someone might clean or change the scene while you’re out of work. You might struggle to gather evidence for your case as a result.
It’s also normal to forget details about what happened after you sustain a workplace injury. Gathering evidence immediately can help you avoid forgetting anything.
First, write down your recollection of what happened while the memory is still fresh. Keep a note of when and where the incident occurred. Consider what you were doing right before you got hurt, too.
Write down the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident as well. Your worker’s compensation lawyer might contact them to make an official statement. A witness statement can help strengthen your claim.
Before leaving the scene of the accident, try to gather photo and video footage, too. If you can, gather footage of what you think caused the accident as well.
3. Visit a Doctor
The three leading causes of work-related injuries treated in an ER include:
- Contact with objects and equipment
- Slips and falls
- Overexertion and bodily reaction
About 18% of the 1,176,340 nonfatal work injuries resulting in lost workdays were related to slips, trips, and falls. Even a minor trip can have a lasting impact on your health and well-being, though. Immediately after a workplace accident, visit a worker’s comp doctor.
Workers comp doctors will have a better understanding of what you’re going through. They’ll also understand how to strengthen your claim with their assessment.
After a workplace accident, tell your supervisor you need medical treatment. They might have you visit a specific physician. First, visit the doctor they refer you to.
Then, ask if they’ll cover the expense of you getting a second opinion. You’re entitled to a second opinion under worker’s compensation laws. In some cases, you’ll need to pay for this visit out-of-pocket.
Walk the doctor through what happened. Let them know if you’re experiencing pain, stiffness, or other symptoms.
Your doctor will keep a record of the symptoms you’re experiencing. They can also send a Health Professional’s Report to build your worker’s compensation claim.
4. File a Claim
Regardless of the types of injuries you sustained, hire a worker’s compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Prioritize finding an attorney with years of hands-on experience filing worker’s compensation lawsuits. Their prior experience could benefit your claim.
A lawyer can gather evidence to prove you were injured at work. They might recognize signs that your employer neglected to prioritize workplace safety, too. With their help, you can build a lawsuit and fight for compensation.
Your winnings can help cover your lost wages, medical expenses, and other expenses related to the accident.
Your lawyer will also help you file a worker’s compensation claim. Worker’s comp will help cover expenses related to your injury. Compensation is covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
You’ll need to prove how work contributed to your injuries in order to file a claim.
Remember not to wait. Otherwise, the statute of limitations could lapse. You might lose your chance to fight for compensation as a result.
5. Track Expenses
Immediately after you’re injured at work, begin tracking any expenses related to the incident.
For example, you’ll need to track how many days you miss work. Worker’s compensation will cover weekly wage replacement payments. Once you’re out of work for seven days, you’ll begin receiving payments.
Track any travel related to your medical treatments, too.
An experienced lawyer can help you track expenses and losses related to the accident.
6. Prevent Future Falls
Talk to your coworkers about your work-related injury. The information you share with them could help them avoid an accident in the future.
Talk to your employer, too. The information you provide could encourage them to make a change. For example, they might invest in training, education, and regular inspections to help minimize the risk of an accident.
Fight for Compensation the Next Time You’re Injured at Work
If you’re injured at work, the situation can feel stressful and daunting. Make sure to follow these steps after sustaining a work-related injury. Following these steps can help you gather the evidence you need to build your claim.
Then, you can receive the compensation you need to cover expenses and other losses.
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