Although we like to think that we take measures to ensure our physical safety in the workplace, unexpected risks and hazards can happen to anyone. Whether you work in an office or around machinery, injury-related accidents can occur due to numerous reasons that are more common than people realize.
A faulty wire, machine malfunction, a slippery floor, or even a regular delivery route are all possible scenarios for unexpected work-related injuries and examples of how accidents can occur in any work environment. In fact, around 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses occur every year in the US. Therefore, it is crucial to know how to proceed if you find yourself in such a situation.
While injuries are not always serious, they are frequently followed by medical bills, rehabilitation, and medication-related costs. If this is the case, then you will need to make sure that you receive proper compensation. However, if this is your first encounter with a workplace injury, you might not be properly informed about your legal rights or obligations. This is precisely why you need a personal injury lawyer in such cases, an experienced professional who can guide you throughout the process and help you protect your legal rights.
Below we have listed the five things you should do after sustaining a workplace injury to protect yourself physically and legally.
If you have sustained an injury at work, make sure to consult a medical professional immediately after the incident to prevent further damage.
Over 400,000 injuries per year occur around machinery and equipment, many of which result in medical leave. Be especially careful if you have been in this type of accident, and consult on the time needed to recover. Returning to work too quickly after suffering an injury might cause your injury to worsen; returning without consulting your doctor first can also impact your medical claim.
In the case of a slip-and-fall, you will likely be entitled to compensation if the accident was due to negligent conduct or dangerous circumstances. If you are not sure if your employer can be held accountable for an incident of this kind, you can always seek legal recourse from experienced slip-and-fall accident attorneys like the ones at gblegal.com. In some cases, you might need to consider going to the emergency room. Most of the time, your employer will be responsible for covering the travel costs on the day of your injury.
After seeking help for your injuries, make sure to report the incident to your employer immediately.
Failure to notify your employer about the accident promptly can lead to a denial or delay in your claim from your employer or insurance company. Documenting the details of the injury, either in writing or via a phone call, can protect you legally from repercussions since an improper report can also result in a denial of the claim.
Make sure you keep a written report about the incident and make it as detailed as possible. Even if you inform your employer over the phone, it’s advisable to provide them with a written statement afterward that they will be able to review carefully. This will also settle any disputes that may arise in the future, affecting the settlement of the case. Hand the statement to your employer as soon as possible after the accident.
In case of slip-and-fall accidents, there are typically unique conditions that involve proof of responsibility that you will have to provide for your case to settle. One crucial element is whether the hazard was open and apparent or whether it was somehow concealed. Another aspect is giving proof of the property owner or management’s knowledge of the danger or negligence and failure to run regular maintenance.
Notifying your employer about the accident is the first step towards filing an insurance claim. However, it would help if you were especially careful with the information you keep on hand since you will have to provide all the necessary details surrounding the accident. Gathering as much information as possible about your accident and the scope of your injuries can ensure that you are adequately compensated for all incurred costs.
Some of the information you should try to record is witness contact information, photographs of the scene or any damage, and medical records. If the injury was due to a fall, take pictures of the area where you fell, especially the floor. These photographs may reveal the presence or absence of any rugs, mats, or materials that might have prevented the fall. Your clothing and shoes can also show how and where you fell.
When visiting a medical professional, make sure you specify that you are being treated for a work-related injury, and ensure that you share the full scope of your injuries—taking pictures of any wounds, cuts, or bruises to depict the state of the damage accurately.
You are also entitled to reimbursements of travel costs for medical appointments and any other expenses that you have covered. Note that you will only receive these reimbursements after you file the proper documentation.
For example, California permits personal injury plaintiffs to receive compensation for damages such as medical expenses, property damage, and loss of income, and incurred pain and suffering. Although every court calculates the damages differently, you can expect the compensation package to consist of multiple of these reported damages in most cases.
Whether you are experiencing mild or severe incapacity, it is always advisable to get proper medical treatment and give your injury time to heal. It is essential to go through the entire course of your treatment to prevent consequences or improper healing.
Keeping track of the extent of your recovery and documenting your injuries and symptoms on an ongoing basis is critical to maintaining your right for current and future benefits. For example, after the compensation payments come into effect, you will likely be requested to periodically prove your eligibility for the payments by producing notes from your treating physician.
Working through workplace injury claims can be nerve-racking and confusing. Unfortunately, you will have to record the details of the accident and your treatment to avoid claim denial. You can avoid the added stress of dealing with the aftermath of your accident by hiring a personal injury lawyer.
The lawyer can help you fill out and file any necessary claims and forms and communicate with your insurance company to ensure you receive proper compensation and treatment. This will also give you the time to properly heal and bounce back on your feet as soon as possible.
Unexpected and injury-related accidents occur more often than people think and can cause a lot of damage both for your physical health and your financial obligations.
If you follow the steps listed above, however, you are more likely to go through this process more easily and receive the compensation you are legally entitled to. And if you still find the process to be confusing, or maybe just too much to handle at the time, you can always turn to a lawyer who will guide you through the process.