Workplace injuries can cause more damage than you may think. You may be suffering from physical pain, but you may also have a hard time returning to work, and that financial toll may be even worse. If you were injured at work, you may be wondering, what now? To put yourself in the right position after an accident, here are a few tips for how to proceed.
File a Report
Immediately after your injury occurred, it’s vital you report it to your human resources department. If you don’t have one, you should report it to your supervisor and be sure that it is in writing. Should you not have documented proof that the accident happened, you may have trouble if you need to file a workers’ compensation claim. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has report-of-injury forms available that all businesses are encouraged to use for workplace injuries. Be sure to fill one out, even if your supervisor doesn’t think it’s necessary. You should also keep a copy for your records as proof, as well as insist your supervisor or human resources department interview anyone who witnessed the accident.
Visit a Doctor
Depending on the severity of your injury, this may be the first step you need to take. It’s okay to head right to the doctor to treat your injury, and in some cases, you don’t have a choice. If you’re bleeding profusely or suffer a concussion, there will be no time in between to make a visit to human resources. While at the doctor, make note that your injury occurred while on the job, so that there is ample proof of this fact. Even if your injury isn’t severe, it’s important to visit a healthcare provider immediately, so your company’s insurance cannot dispute that the care you needed was due to the accident that occurred at the workplace and not elsewhere. If you visit a doctor after you’ve returned home for a few hours, they may be able to argue your injuries were sustained after you already clocked out.
Hire an Attorney
Whether you plan to file for workers’ compensation benefits or file a personal injury claim, you should at least consult with a professional who is versed in this area of the law. An all injuries law firm can better assist you in figuring out what your next steps should be. If you accept workers’ compensation benefits, you may not be able to file a personal injury claim. This is all dependent on many factors, such as if your accident was due to negligence on the part of a coworker or the business itself. Only an attorney well-versed in this area of law will be able to tell you what legal action needs to be taken.
If workers’ compensation benefits are available to you, you should take advantage of that if no legal steps need to be taken first. As mentioned before, if you plan on filing a personal injury claim, accepting these benefits may waive your right to sue for damages. Again, you should only take action based on the advice your lawyer provides. They will know best based on the details of your case.
While you’re out due to your injury or illness, keep track of the days you’ve been out of commission and the paychecks you’re missing as a result. These figures may be important in determining how much you’re owed in damages should your lawyer decide to take legal action against your employer. You want to be sure you are accurately compensated for your time spent getting bed rest after your accident.