If you are hurt on the job, you may feel like all you want to do is focus on taking care of your injuries, but there are specific things that you need to do right away or in a timely manner. Neglecting to do these things could jeopardize your right to compensation.
Job-related injuries include both sudden traumas such as being injured by a machine and injuries that develop over time such as carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s important to note that you have the right to be compensated for work-related injuries.
Report Work Accidents as Soon as Possible
Any work-related accident should be reported to your supervisor as soon as possible. Your supervisor will need clear details about what happened and how it happened, and you won’t be doing yourself or your company any favors by pretending you weren’t hurt that badly or by failing to report an injury.
This is also true if you have an accident or a fall at work and think you aren’t injured. Even though it might seem at first that you weren’t hurt in an incident, it still should be reported. Most companies have strict deadlines regarding how soon incidents need to be reported and in many cases, you only have 24 hours.
If possible, report the accident in writing or in front of a reliable witness. Be sure to note details such as conditions surrounding the incident such as spills, lighting, hazards, equipment malfunction, etc., along with witness statements. Most companies have a standard accident report that can be filled out by you or your supervisor. Make sure you get a copy of the incident report.
Consequences of Failure to Report an Accident
Symptoms of medical problems don’t always show up right away. You may begin to experience symptoms such as aches, pains, stiffness or swelling a day or so later. If an accident was never reported, you may have to deal with consequences such as these:
- Your company could deny benefits for missed work and could even deny medical care.
- Your company may claim the accident happened outside of work
- Your own health insurance company may deny the claim if an injury is work-related
The longer you wait to report a work-related injury, the easier it is for your employer to deny that it was work-related. Waiting too long also creates a risk that witnesses may no longer remember important details of the incident.
Medical Care for Your Injury
Seek medical care right away. One thing to keep in mind is that you may be required to use a particular doctor selected by your company. Clearly describe what occurred to the doctor in as much detail as possible, and be sure the doctor understands that it was a work-related accident. Obtain documentation of the doctor’s evaluation and any tests or procedures that are done, and have the doctor send all bills to your employer.
Follow all instructions that are given to you by the doctor, and make sure these instructions are clearly documented as well. If you are instructed to avoid heavy lifting, physical exertion or going to work at all for a period of time, do exactly as you are told. Don’t try to go back to work before you are ready or before the doctor says it is safe to do so.
Contact an Expert in Personal Injury
It’s a good idea to get legal advice if you have been injured at work so that you may obtain any compensation you are entitled to. Taos Injury Lawyers would like to help you. Contact us using the form on this page and one of our lawyers will get back to you promptly to discuss your injury and how we can help.