Serious accidents can happen anywhere, including at your place of work. Knowing how to respond in these situations is important not just for your long-term health, but also to protect your rights as an employee. Regardless of your occupation, it’s crucial that your employer provides you with a safe work environment.
Immediately following a workplace accident, you should assess the severity of your injuries. If it’s a life-threatening injury, call 911 right away. If not, you still need to seek medical attention, but you can inform your employer first. Provide them with as many details as possible about the incident. Then you can head to the hospital to get medical care, where they will also document your injuries. This step is incredibly important – do not assume that your injuries are too minor for medical attention. Even if they are relatively minor, getting medical documentation will be a key component in filing your claim.
Reporting the Injury
If you need emergency medical attention, make sure to report the injury to your employer after you finish getting care. Your employer will likely have a specific incident report form for you to use. Fill out the form as accurately as possible with as many details as you remember. You should also request a copy of the report for your own records.
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that employers have specifically for on-the-job injuries. While the exact requirements for having workers’ compensation insurance differ by state and type of company, almost all employers in the United States are required to carry it.
When an employee gets injured or ill on the job, they can file a claim for workers’ compensation insurance. If the claim is approved, the employee will receive benefits such as compensation for medical care and a portion of their lost wages from not being able to work. This provides financial support to help out the employee while they recover from their injury.
You can ask your employer for the form needed to file a workers’ compensation claim. Once your employer submits it on your behalf, you will need to wait until the insurance company comes back with a verdict: approved or denied. If they deny your claim, you can review the reasons why and then appeal it. Once it gets approved, you will start to receive compensation.
Ongoing Medical Treatment
Most injuries are going to require some kind of ongoing medical care. Whether it’s physical therapy or prescription medication, injuries often come with long-term expenses. Keep in mind that if you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you still have the right to choose your own doctor.
It’s crucial that you follow the care instructions from your medical provider. If you don’t, your workers’ compensation claim could be jeopardized. The insurance company will want to see documentation of the care you receive.
Documenting the Injury
A major part of ensuring you get workers’ compensation benefits is carefully documenting your injury. This means keeping all medical records, bills, and any communication with your employer or the insurance company regarding the incident. On the day of the incident, you can also take some notes on what happened – where, when, and other details you remember. This is when the accident will be the most fresh in your mind. The more documentation you have, the more likely your claim will be approved.
Rights and Responsibilities
Injured workers in the U.S. have certain rights. One of these rights is protection from retaliation. Every employee has the right to file a workers’ compensation claim without fear of retaliation from their employer. Retaliation can take on a few forms – some employers demote or fire employees after they file a claim, which is illegal to do. Reducing someone’s work hours or taking away projects also counts as retaliation. If you feel you have been retaliated against, you can report it to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Employees also have a right to return to work once their injury is healed. Once medically cleared, your employer should cooperate with you to facilitate your return to work. You and your employer can discuss whether you will need modified duties. Your employer can provide modifications to your office space or to your job duties if you require them.
In cases of denied claims or disputes, it may be necessary to seek legal assistance. Attorneys who specialize in workers’ compensation claims can help you navigate the complex system. Search for a local lawyer in your area who has experience handling these types of cases.
Preventing Workplace Injuries
While hindsight is twenty-twenty, it’s good to try and understand how these accidents happen so we can prevent them moving forward. Workplace safety measures and protocols are incredibly important in maintaining a safe work environment. Employers should make safety procedures known to all employees, and make sure that they provide an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting safety concerns. Safety education is a great way to involve the whole team in staying up to date on protocols.
Remember, it’s important to be careful at work and follow safety guidelines. No job is so important that these protocols should be ignored, thereby putting your health at risk. A workplace injury can be physically, emotionally, and financially life-changing. It’s important that all employees prioritize their health and safety in the workplace.