Injured at Work

What Steps to Take After Being Injured at Work

Working in the United States means that you have rights as an employee if you’re injured at work. It means that you will probably be entitled to at least some worker’s compensation benefits that can help you pay for your medical bills and for missed work due to the injury. But, you have to take specific steps to protect your rights and these steps might include hiring a work comp law firm. The following steps will ensure your claim is filed properly and in a timely manner.

Step 1: Report the Injury Immediately

The first step to take after being injured at work is to immediately report the injury to your supervisor. This cannot be stressed enough. You must report your injury as soon as possible to your immediate manager. While you have 30 days following an injury to report it, there is no reason to wait. The sooner you notify your supervisor, the sooner your worker’s compensation benefits can kick in.

Not all injuries are evident right away, though. For instance, you might hurt your back and think you’re fine, but a few days later, you can’t even stand up. To make sure your rights are protected, it’s best to notify your supervisor when you hurt your back, even if you think you’re okay. This keeps the door open for your worker’s comp benefits if the injury is more severe than you initially thought.

Step 2: Fill Out an Incident Report

In addition to notifying your employer verbally of your injury, you also need to fill out an incident report. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers to provide workplace injury reports to their employees. Even if (and especially if) your employer says it’s not necessary to fill out this report, demand to do it and make sure to get a copy for your records. This will help you with your claim down the road.

Step 3: Seek Medical Care

This might actually be your first step if the injury is severe enough. The incident report can wait until you’ve been treated. But, no matter how minor you think the injury is, have it assessed by a physician. Not only does this ensure that your injury is properly cared for, but it also protects your rights if there is ever a dispute that your injury is work-related. In an emergency, you can see any medical professional, but if your injury is not an emergency, you may be required to see a doctor that is affiliated with your employer’s worker’s compensation plan.

Step 4: File A Claim

Submit your worker’s compensation claim by following the procedures outlined by your employer’s plan. You usually have a definite time frame in which to submit your claim (frequently two years), so if you miss that deadline, you could be without benefits. Don’t wait to file!

Step 5: Hire an Attorney

This step can be combined with step 4 because an experienced worker’s comp attorney can help you file your claim correctly and ensure your benefits are appropriate for your injury. While you can file the claim and negotiate a settlement on your own, it isn’t recommended.

Conclusion

If you’ve been hurt on the job, you have rights. Protect them now and get the worker’s comp benefits you deserve by hiring a worker’s comp attorney.

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