What to Do if You’ve Been Hurt at Work
Day to day working life is not usually something that results in personal harm. However, sometimes workplace injuries are unavoidable. Whether it’s an unfortunate slip and fall, or you work in a field that deals with heavy construction equipment or hazardous materials, accidents can happen. In these cases, knowing what to do ahead of time can save you a lot of stress and money later on. To ensure you get the best help—and compensation—follow these steps if you’ve been hurt at work.
Obtain Any Necessary Medical Help
If your injury requires immediate medical attention, seek any necessary medical treatment or first aid that you need – your safety comes first. Something to keep in mind is that in a non-emergency situation, you need to make sure that the health care provider you get assistance from is one of your employer’s authorized providers.
Immediately Notify Your Employer
As soon as possible, you should notify your employer or supervisor about the injury that occurred and the circumstances in which it occurred. Some places require this notification to be done in formal writing while others don’t, but it is helpful either way to provide a written notice. A verbal notice does not provide you with as much safety should this need to go to court.
Some states even require a filing deadline, which can be fairly quick as the statute of limitations can be brief. Because of this, you should file as soon as you can in order to protect all of your legal rights.
Seek Worker’s Compensation
In order to seek compensation, you will need to file an official form and mail it in. This is where an injury attorney can help. A lawyer can keep you advised about all of the regulations and time limits attached to this overly complicated process.
Another thing that could help your case in the event of an injury at work is getting to know your co-workers. If something unfortunate occurs at your place of employment, then the people around you (your co-workers) become the best witnesses for the cause of the accident as well as the details of the incident. Witnesses are crucial to have in case your account is challenged.
Contact a Worker Injury Lawyer
If you haven’t done so already, contact a reliable attorney to help you through this process. Here are the only occasions that you may not need to contact a professional:
- Your employer admits formally that the event did occur at work
- The incident did not cause you to miss any work
- The accident was extremely minor
In any of these cases, you might be able to represent yourself. However, there are many instances that could happen that would cause you to need to find an attorney, including:
- The settlement offer doesn’t cover the costs of your medical bills or lost wages.
You shouldn’t rely on a judge to ensure a fair deal for you if you are at all unsure of the offer that was made. Although these settlements get judicial approval, judges don’t typically double check the offers to make sure they make sense for the individual situation. In order to ensure the best possible outcome for yourself, call an attorney.
- The incident affected your ability to work.
If this has affected your ability to work in the long term, obviously you should adjust the compensation to reflect permanent disability benefits. You could also run into issues with the rating of your permanent disability being disputed, so it always helps to have someone watching your back in these scenarios to make sure you don’t get cheated out of any compensation.
- Your employer punishes you for filing the claim.
Any kind of retaliation against you should not be tolerated, including firing you, decreasing your hours, demoting you, reducing pay, or any other type of discrimination as a direct cause of you filing a worker’s compensation claim. In these instances, seek a personal injury lawyer to ensure your rights are not violated.