Workplace injuries can happen at any time, even in lower-risk jobs like retail environments. It’s important to know what to do if you’re ever injured at work, be it from a slip and fall, or a cut, scrape, or more severe injury. There are a few important steps to take if you’re involved in a workplace accident.
Immediately After the Injury
When you’re hurt at work, don’t make any sudden movements and take a quick self-assessment. Take note of any pain or soreness, headaches, or any indications of injury or what parts of your body might be affected. From there immediately call for help and notify your employer. They’ll likely have you fill out an accident report to make note of what happened and what your complaints are regarding symptoms. Don’t leave anything out, no matter how small it may seem. If your pain subsides on its own, great, but anything left out of the report might not be considered as a result of the accident if you do end up needing further treatment.
If you feel any lingering pain or if anything feels off, you should seek medical counsel to confirm you don’t need any additional treatment. The Bruscato Law Firm says that it’s important to get checked out by a doctor rather than just toughing it out since they’ll be able to identify internal injuries you probably wouldn’t notice. If your job has medical staff on-site to assess workplace injuries, you may want to go for a second opinion just in case they missed something.
Keeping accurate records will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. You’ll want to keep a record of a few key things as they progress throughout the course of treatment and recovery. First, you should keep a record of the initial accident and what your symptoms were at the time. You should then keep track of all of your medical bills in chronological order, as well as any diagnosis and treatment the doctors administer. This will provide a practical and financial timeline from the initial injury all the way through your treatment.
Look Into Injury Attorneys
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, you may want to look into retaining an injury attorney. If the accident was caused by dangerous work conditions or preventable hazards by your employer (improperly stored supplies, obstructed or hazardous work areas, unmaintained equipment, etc.) you may be entitled to more than just coverage from workers’ compensation. It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe work environment, and an injury attorney will be able to help determine if you have a case for personal damages against them. It’s also up to the employer to be sure that you are healed before resuming normal work activities. According to Employers.com, they may also opt to send you to a doctor to be cleared before resuming work.
Applying for workers’ compensation is definitely something you should do, regardless of who’s fault the accident was. If you are injured on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation if your employer is covered by it, with a few exceptions. Even if you were negligent and caused the injury (for example by disregarding a wet floor sign and slipping) you are entitled to compensation. Fill out the appropriate paperwork and have your employer fill out what they need to, and you should be all set to receive compensation. Keep in mind that there are deadlines for filing so try not to wait too long, or you could lose out on workers’ compensation benefits.
Rest and Recover
Property Casualty 360 says that the final step is to rest and allow your injuries to heal. Continue keeping track of your appointments and medical expenses for workers’ compensation or any insurance purposes and keep your employer up to date on the progress of your recovery. At a certain point, your doctor may even be able to sign off on adjusted assignment, where you can work your job with modified conditions (for example not having you lift over a certain weight load, be provided with a chair to sit so you aren’t on your feet for extended periods of time, etc.).
Your job will be safe and held for you upon your return, as it is illegal for employers to terminate or threaten to discriminate against employees simply for filing for workers’ compensation. If your employer does attempt to terminate your employment for whatever reason while on workers compensation, reach out to an attorney to help defend your rights.