A workplace is supposed to be safe and secured. Your employer is legally mandated to provide such an environment. Sadly, many business owners fail to do so. According to the BLS, 5,333 employees died on the job in 2019. Many more suffered injuries ranging from mild to severe. Therefore, workplace injuries are more common than you think. And if you’ve been a victim of such an issue, then you may find some comfort in knowing that you have a right to compensation.
Yes, after suffering an injury at your workplace, your employer is legally required to compensate you for the injuries suffered. Unfortunately, most people do not know about this. Worse still, many individuals have no idea what the right procedure to follow is after such an incident. And that’s a big problem because the steps you take after an on-job injury will significantly determine the fate of your claim.
In this article, we’ll discuss key tips on what to do after a workplace injury to ensure your rights are protected. This should help you get the full compensation you deserve.
Report The Accident To Your Supervisor As Soon As Possible
This is one mistake so many people make. Failure to reporting workplace injuries can deny you the compensation you’re entitled to. Even failing to report promptly can give your employer and the insurer leeway to fight your claim.
Therefore, you must report your injury as soon as possible. And remember to follow the laid-out protocol of reporting. If your company’s procedures require you to go through a specific chain of command, do not ignore it.
Going against the protocols can create loopholes in your case which the insurer can exploit to reduce or deny your claim altogether.
Reporting the accident to your fellow employees is also a good thing. For one, you’ll protect your colleagues from suffering a similar fate as yours.
Secondly, you’ll get several people to corroborate your story that you suffered an injury and reported the issue to the concerned person in your company.
Consult A Physician
Never go back to your normal life after a workplace injury without seeking medical help. It doesn’t matter if it’s a minor injury or not; seek medical help as soon as possible.
Why is this important? Well, first, this is good for your own well-being. An injury may appear minor, but you’ll never know what’s going on underneath until you go for detailed screening.
Second, seeing a medical practitioner gives you additional evidence for your claim. You will need this evidence not just for filing your claim, but also when arguing the compensation you deserve.
You should also know that insurers can deny a claim if you fail to see a doctor on time. They can argue that if the injuries were serious or caused in the workplace as claimed, you would have sought medical help immediately after.
So, be sure to consult a medical practitioner to protect your rights. You should speak to your employer before visiting a doctor in case they want the tests done by a particular physician. Many companies have networks of insurer-approved medical centers where they expect their employees to go.
But if you visit the employer-recommended physician, and you are not satisfied with the outcome, go for a secondary check-up with a doctor of your choice.
Don’t forget to tell the doctor that the injury is work-related. They should include this detail in the medical records.
You must also follow your doctor’s recommendations to the letter. If you’re asked to stop doing a particular activity, follow the advice. Similarly, do not ignore any prescriptions or future appointments set by your doctor.
Keep Accurate Records
Your records will play a pivotal role in determining how strong your claim is. Therefore, make sure to preserve your evidence carefully.
What evidence is this? First, keep a diary of the workdays you are missing due to the injury. You may need this when calculating compensation and wage replacement payments.
Second, record all your out-of-pocket payments. Keep the receipts of all your medical expenses, including the consultation and prescription fees.
All medical-related traveling expenses must be captured as well.
Filing For Compensation
Different states have different requirements for reporting and filing for workplace injury compensation. For instance, Tennessee workers are given 30 days to report the incident.
Meanwhile, in South Carolina, you can report the incident within 90 days. But as the folks at Land Parker Welch LLC recommend, it’s good to report the issue and start the claim procedure as soon as possible. This saves time and reduces the likelihood of confusion and misunderstandings.
After reporting to your employer, they will file the claim with the workers’ compensation commission on your behalf.
Sadly, it’s possible that your employer may not file the claim. It’s equally possible that they may deny you the benefits you’re entitled to.
In such situations, you can file your own claim. This is where you need to hire a workplace injury attorney. They can help you through the filing procedure and the negotiations.
But be sure to hire an experienced attorney capable of handling the case.
Workplace Injury FAQs
Here are some of the common questions most victims of workplace injuries face and the answers to each one of them:
1. What Are My Rights After Suffering A Workplace Injury?
Workers’ compensation laws tend to vary from one state to the next. However, several rights remain constant.
For instance, you have a right to legal representation throughout the process. You also have a right to appeal the outcome or decision made by the insurer or your employer regarding your accident.
2. What Benefits Am I Entitled To?
You are entitled to compensation for lost wages and all the medical expenses incurred while treating the on-job injury. The insurer is also supposed to cover vocational rehabilitation if the injury has made it impossible to go back to the job.
3. What If My Employer Claims Not To Have Employee Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory in almost all industries. Therefore, if your employer claims not to have the cover, that by itself is a punishable offense.
That said, the best way of dealing with such an incident is by hiring an attorney.
It’s imperative to deal with workplace injuries as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it is to resolve the issue. Therefore, initiate the process right away, and don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of a legal mind if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash
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