Workplace injuries can have many causes as there are different ways to be injured in different industries. The severity spectrum for getting injured at work is wide as well. A paper cut from refilling the copy machine is an injury, but it is obviously quite different in severity from a broken back caused by a fall from scaffolding. However, both of them likely have protocols for reporting them that your company expects you to follow. Here are important tips for handling all workplace injuries.
Report Workplace Accidents Immediately
Do not try to figure out or guess if you are okay now or will be okay later if you have an accident at work. Your workplace policies likely include a specific and detailed protocol for reporting all injuries. Follow it to the letter. This is your number one protection for any questions that may arise concerning the accident. Delayed reporting can only harm you in the end.
Realize Your New Position
It is not one you asked for, but any injury that even slightly gets management concerned about worker’s compensation, disability claims, OSHA involvement, or civil or criminal liability will likely immediately change how you are treated. Superiors you may have had a warm rapport with prior to your injury may have been instructed to deal with you following strict policy procedures.
Do not let the desire to have things return to your idea of “normal” at work prevent you from seeking the help for your injuries that you deserve. It is illegal for your employer to make you an offer to keep you from filing a worker’s compensation claim, so do not let this new way you are being treated result in failing to pursue the help you need.
Get Legal Help
Navigating worker’s compensation laws requires the help of a professional. Handling it alone puts you at risk of losing your income or your health insurance, and you can even be blamed for causing the accident that got you injured. Getting a lawyer like Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson, P.S. or someone similar on your side at the beginning helps in preserving evidence and getting witness statements on record before evidence disappears and detailed memories fade.
It would be fantastic if you could rely on everyone involved to have your best interests at heart if you are injured in an accident at work, but that is not likely to be the case. The goal of the company or corporation will be to minimize losses due to having to compensate you for treatment and expenses due to an injury. This will be even more so if employer negligence led to the accident in the first place.
Dates, times, people, work conditions, equipment used, logs and even the weather may help in proving your claim. A written record at the time of the incident is often better than recounting details afterwards. You may not be able to access things such as repair and maintenance logs for equipment injuries, but an attorney can.
This is another reason why seeking legal representation for a workplace injury from the beginning is helpful. Also, keep in mind that when you are filling out the accident report for your employer, it is a legal document that will likely be referred to if it is necessary to file a worker’s compensation claim.
Do not let embarrassment for being injured cause you to minimize or hide the extent of any workplace injury. You have a right to medical treatment and disability compensation if you cannot return to your job. Correspondingly, if you are released to return to work and know you are able, you have a right to return to your job. Your rights vary from state to state. For example, in some locations you may have the right to be retrained for a new line of work if you are unable to return to your old job due to a worker’s compensation claim.