So, you got injured at work. What do you do next? The steps you take are integral in how well you recover from your work injury and the benefits you receive.
This article will tell you the steps to take after a work injury to ensure you get proper care and optimal benefits.
Steps to Take After a Work Injury
Inform Your Supervisor
Inform a supervisor as soon as an injury occurs. They will have paperwork for you to fill out. If you have a work injury, you may not be able to fill out paperwork right away. But it is best to make your supervisor aware of the injury up front.
Some companies enforce strict policies about reporting work injuries to employers. For instance, some may require you to report your injury within 24 hours. If you fail to do so, you may not be eligible for benefits.
Learn your work policies in advance to ensure you follow the required procedure.
Collecting evidence will help you build a strong case. It will ensure you remember all the details of your injury.
If you are badly injured, you may be unable to gather evidence right away. If this is the case, go back to the scene and gather evidence as soon as you can.
Here are the types of evidence that will help your claim:
- Pictures: Take pictures of your injury, damaged property (if relevant), and anything that may have caused your accident
- The date and time of the accident
- What you were doing when the accident occurred
- The names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident
These pieces of evidence will prove your accident was work-related. It will reduce the risk of your employer arguing that your injuries were caused by another activity.
Get Medical Treatment
Medical treatment will help in more ways than one. On the surface, it allows your doctors to diagnose your work injury so you can treat it right away. Prompt attention to an injury can reduce recovery time and ensure optimal health outcomes.
On another level, medical treatment helps you establish a strong claim. Your medical records will prove that you incurred a work injury. They will also offer insight into how much you are owed in benefits.
It’s best to get medical treatment right away. If you hold off, your employer or the insurance company may try to say your injury isn’t that bad. They may also claim that something else caused your injury and that it wasn’t work-related.
There are some types of injuries where immediate care will not apply. Repetitive stress injuries and illnesses are two examples. These types of conditions can develop over time. It may take a while before you realize you have a condition.
In these instances, get care as soon as possible. Tell your doctor about the events leading up to this point and when you started experiencing symptoms. They will put the pieces together to help you establish a strong claim.
If you experience an emergency work injury, you can see any doctor for care. The visit will be covered by your workers’ comp benefits. If you require subsequent visits, you must see a doctor that’s within your employer’s MPN (medical provider network).
Report Your Injury
Employees have 30 days to report a work injury. But the sooner you report your injury the better. It will get the ball rolling on other paperwork that needs to be filled out. It will help you get your benefits sooner. It will also help you record the details of your injury while they are fresh in your mind.
If you do not report your injury within 30 days, you may not receive your benefits. If you have a repetitive stress injury or illness, it may be difficult to determine the date your symptoms started. In these instances, you can use the date when you became aware of your illness or injury as the starting point.
File a Workers’ Comp Claim with the State
Filing paperwork with your employer does not start the workers’ comp claims process. You will also need to file a workers’ comp claim with the state. You have a year to file your claim.
However, if you received weekly benefits from your employer for your injury, you would have two years to file.
If you fail to file your claim within the required timelines, you may not be eligible for benefits.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you do some research on what to do after a work injury, many resources will advise you to lawyer up immediately. However, workers’ comp attorneys are not typically necessary in the claims process. You will only need an attorney if you are having trouble receiving benefits from your employer, or if your claim was wrongly denied.
Employees injured at work are entitled to compensation. But you must take the proper steps after your work injury to ensure you get the benefits you deserve. Alert your employee, fill out the required paperwork, and seek medical attention. If you follow these basic steps, your case should run smoothly.