Recently Injured at Work? Here’s What to Do Next
Every year, more than 4.6 million people get injured on the job. Those injuries can range from minor inconveniences to permanently disabling events. Regardless of the severity, getting help should always be your first priority.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim with your employer is the best way to help you get the money you need to aid your recovery.
However, if you were recently injured at work, understanding what steps you need to take to get your claim approved can feel overwhelming. Here are a few simple steps to follow if you find yourself injured while you’re on the clock.
Get Immediate First-Aid If Needed
The first thing anyone should do after an accident at work is to seek first aid if needed. For minor injuries, your employer’s first aid kit should have the tools you need. If your injuries are more extensive, don’t hesitate to call an ambulance.
The faster you can take care of first aid, the better off you’ll be and the easier it will be to help your body heal quickly.
Fill Out an Accident Report If You Can
Once you’re done with the immediate first aid, talk to your supervisor. Let them know what happened and fill out an accident report if you’re physically able to. The accident report helps establish proof that you got hurt at work which can speed up your workers’ compensation claim.
Once they know you’re injured, your supervisor or human resources department can refer you to a doctor for further examination.
Your supervisor will likely call the doctor to let them know you’re on the way. Even if you don’t think you need a doctor, it’s best to get a consultation.
Remember, some injuries may not feel severe immediately. A doctor will be able to assess your condition and determine the extent of your injuries even if you think they’re not bad.
Get a Second Opinion
If you’re not happy with the way your employer-recommended doctor treated you or feel that your injuries are more severe, get a second opinion. Contact your primary care physician and schedule an appointment.
Let them assess your condition again.
If they say your condition is worse than what your first doctor said, get a copy of their assessment and submit it with your workers’ compensation claim form. This can help the insurance company get a better idea of the severity of your injuries.
Ultimately, this can make a huge difference in the amount of money you receive.
Inform Your Employer of Your Injury
After going to the doctor, let your employer know what they said. You’ll need to give your employer written notice of the injury within 30 days of the accident. Detail what happened leading up to the accident, who witnessed it, and what injuries you suffered.
Once they know about your injuries, they’ll be able to start the workers’ compensation claim process with their insurance provider. They’ll ask you to fill out a portion of the form before they submit it to the insurance company.
If your employer doesn’t offer you a workers’ compensation claim form, don’t give up. Contact your local Department of Workers’ Compensation office and request help from them.
Remember, your employer cannot deny you the right to file a claim if you’re injured on the job. They also can’t retaliate against you for filing the claim in the first place.
What Retaliation Looks Like
Retaliation can come in many different forms. Some employers might try to fire you for missing work. Others might refuse to accommodate medical restrictions on the types of duties you can perform.
Ultimately, these types of retaliation are against the law. You’ll want to speak with a legal professional if you’re experiencing anything that feels like your boss is trying to get back at you.
Wait for a Decision from the Insurance Provider
Once your employer sends your workers’ compensation claim form to their insurance company, the agents will review it. In most cases, insurance companies will reach a decision in a matter of weeks.
If your claim gets approved, you’ll start receiving compensation for your medical treatments as well as a portion of your wages while you’re recovering.
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that your claim will get accepted. Insurance companies actively look for ways to deny claims because it’s in their best interest. The fewer claims they approve, the more money they save.
If your claim gets denied, don’t panic. You can always appeal the decision with the insurance company.
Consult with an Attorney
If the insurance company denies your workers’ compensation claim, you’ll want to get help as soon as possible. Find a personal injury lawyer that can represent your interests with the insurance company and can argue your case.
Schedule consultations with several attorneys and get to know them before you make a decision. Ask about how they charge, the types of cases they’ve represented in the past, and how they can help you.
Reputable attorneys will only charge on contingency meaning they won’t get paid unless they win your case. If a personal injury attorney asks you to pay an hourly rate, keep looking.
Before you sign a contract, get any remaining questions you have about their processes or their fees answered and only choose an attorney you’re comfortable with.
Were You Recently Injured at Work?
If you were recently injured at work, these tips will help you navigate the workers’ compensation claim process more easily. Remember, your focus after a work-related injury should always be on your recovery.
Workers’ compensation exists to help you cover your bills and pay for medical expenses related to those injuries. Don’t suffer in silence. Get the help you need and don’t hesitate to contact an attorney to represent your case if needed.
For more tips on speeding up your recovery after a work-related injury, check out our latest posts.