Work Injury 101: What to Do After a Work Injury
Injuries aren’t uncommon in the workplace, especially in factories and in construction workplaces. Even with the most effective safety precautions, accidents can still happen. So what should you do after a work injury?
The government mandates most employers to cater for their medical expenses in the event of injuries. The employer does so through the insurance carrier to provide worker’s compensation.
There’s a protocol for obtaining this worker’s compensation that you must follow. If not, you may miss out on this worker’s compensation.
Also note, not all companies are required to give workers compensation.
Moreover, not all healthcare centers allow these worker compensation benefits. The Worker Compensation Board must approve the health care center treating the worker except for emergency scenarios.
In this piece, we’ll expound on the procedure to follow when you get a work injury. That way, you get full health benefits from the employer after the injury.
Steps You Should Take After Getting a Work Injury
It’s hard to think straight after a work injury, especially if it hurts or it’s a serious injury. However, once you’re a bit better, you should take these measures to protect your legal rights. The priority, however, is recovering adequately, then you can sort your benefits.
Inform Your Supervisor
The first step you should take is to inform the supervisor about the event. Be very clear and elaborate on everything that led to the accident.
Even if the supervisor was there, they may be too busy to take note or may have other business to attend to. So seek out the supervisor in person and tell him about everything. If you can’t do so immediately, wait till you’re better, then notify him/her ASAP.
Write and File an Accident Report
Deadlines for filing these reports are different from state to state. To be safe, just file it as soon as you can. If you file it after the deadline, you might not receive your worker’s compensation benefits.
Something else to note is that you don’t file these accident reports only strictly for the benefits. You may leave an accident not very hurt and in good shape. However, there’s a high likelihood the accident will happen again if your employer doesn’t take new safety measures.
The second reason why you should file this report is to ensure other employees take necessary safety precautions. In doing so, you decrease the probability of another similar accident happening in the future. After all, it is your employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and conducive working environment for the workers.
Worker’s Compensation Doesn’t Cover Injuries Involving Drugs and Alcohol
Hold your horses if your injury involved any drug or alcohol influence. The only case where drugs and alcohol can be involved is if you work in a brewery or a drug manufacturing industry. Even so, your body still needs to be clean with no trace of drugs or alcohol.
Most employers ask for a drug test before they can proceed with handling your benefits. If the accident also involved some playfulness or fighting, you may not be covered.
Workers’ Compensation Laws Preclude Suing Your Employer
The government requires all states to have worker compensation insurance. The only excluded state is Texas. Technically speaking, because of this insurance, workers can’t sue their employers over workplace injuries.
So if you’re planning to sue your employer, you’ll have to make other plans. Fortunately, because of this, you can get the insurance even if your negligence caused your accident. In a few cases, you can file both a lawsuit and still get your compensation benefits.
However, all these measures change when asbestos gets into the picture. Employers can’t expose employees to asbestos. If you get injured because of coming into contact with asbestos, you can sue your employer.
If you’re injured at work, talk to your lawyer, then maybe you can sue your employer and get the compensation benefits. It depends on your situation and how you present your case in a court of law.
See the Doctor
Following an accident at work, you should always see the doctor. It doesn’t matter how minor the injury is; it’s still a good idea to see
the doctor. If it’s an emergency, you have no option but to see the doctor.
If you’re still conscious after your injury, you should get something clear first. Ask your employer whether you should only see a particular doctor or any doctor you choose.
If you’re not satisfied with the doctor your employer gets you, try seeing another doctor you prefer. Sometimes you may have the right to choose a second doctor, but this is rarely the case.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to settle for the doctor of your choice. If the worker’s comp doesn’t cover it, go for the doctor either way.
Remember, your health is the biggest priority, and you need proper treatment even if it means you have to pay it yourself.
Sometimes your health insurance may cover the doctor’s visit. So don’t be quick to give up on the better doctor option.
Follow up on Your Accident report
Your employer has the responsibility of filing for your claim from the insurance provider. Follow up on this, so you make sure they do it in time.
Also, you may notice your injury much later. If this happens, you should still report the injury as soon as you discover it.
Talk to a Worker’s Compensation Attorney
The help of an attorney is invaluable in the compensation process. Get an attorney before you file for the compensation to better your chances of receiving these benefits. Also, if you feel you’ve been wrongly denied the benefits, then you’ll definitely need the attorney’s help.
Worker’s Compensation Is Your Legal Right
The next time you have a work injury, remember to follow these steps. For many injury cases, you have a right to these benefits. However, that doesn’t mean you should be less careful at work.
Remember, you don’t get any benefits for injuries that happen when you’re high or intoxicated. It’s a bad habit, and you may end up losing your life. Restrict all festivities to after work strictly.
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