Every second, 7 workers get injured on the job.
As much as employers take the necessary steps to enhance the health and safety of workplaces, the risk of accidents is always there. And as an employee, observing all the safety procedures – such as wearing protective gear – go a long way in keeping you safe, but sustaining an injury at work is always a possibility.
If the worst happens and you get injured on the job, here is what you need to next.
1. Call Out for Help and Get First Aid
When you sustain a workplace injury, get first aid. If you’re alone at the time of the accident, call out for help.
It doesn’t matter how minor or “routine” the injury is. Put your health and safety first and get treatment. Even a minor injury to develop into a serious health issue that can put your life at risk.
And if your injury is serious, don’t settle for just first aid. Call, or if you’re unable to, ask the first responders to call an ambulance.
2. Take Photos/Video of the Accident
Take as many photos as you can of the accident and the entire scene. You can also capture it on video.
If your injuries don’t allow you to take photos, don’t shy away from asking your colleagues to do the shooting.
You might be wondering why it’s important to take photos, but soon enough you’ll learn why.
3. Report the Accident to Your Manager
Some workers who are injured on the job often fail to report the incident to their supervisors or managers. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that about half of workplace injuries are not reported.
Reason? The injured worker assumes that everybody in the workplace already knows about the accident, so the relevant manager must have gotten the news and recorded it.
Well, it’s understandable that you might make such an assumption, especially if your workplace has a culture of togetherness and responsibility. However, it’s crucial to personally ensure that your manager is aware of the incident.
Also, if your workplace has an accident book (this is common in construction and manufacturing), record your injuries.
Again, if your injuries keep you in the hospital or disable you, ask your closest colleagues to file the report on your behalf.
4. Keep Accurate Records of Your Hospitalization
Did your injuries get you hospitalized?
As you receive treatment, keep an eye on your treatment records and document all the expenses you incur. Sure, amidst the pain and the confusion it’s easy to lose track of these records, but it’s really essential to stay on top of them.
When it’s time to file a compensation claim, your treatment records will help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
If a relative is taking care of you at the hospital, don’t just assume they’ll keep accurate records. Ensure they understand the importance of keeping them safe.
5. File a Compensation Claim
When you sustain an injury at work, your employer’s workers compensation insurer has a legal obligation to fully compensate you for your medical expenses, as well as any loss of income.
This why the next step after receiving treatment and getting a clean bill of health is to claim your compensation. The deadline for submitting a compensation claim ranges from one to three years in most states, so be sure to know your state’s timelines.
It’s crucial to take your time to prepare a solid claim. Keep in mind insurance companies have a reputation for playing hardball with claimants. They are out to make a profit and won’t hesitate to reject your claim when things aren’t adding up.
As such, consider getting professional help, especially if you have little experience filing insurance claims. Ultimately, your submission should include all the necessary documentation (including the accident photos and treatment records), and the settlement you’re seeking should account for all your expenses, losses and damages.
Some employers do offer in-house help to injured workers claiming compensation, but we encourage you to evaluate your options first.
You see, your employer gets charged higher premiums if the company submits a lot of claims. It’s possible that your employer might pressure you into dropping the claim or settling for a lesser amount.
6. Consider Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Ideally, you should be able to get compensated without any fuss. However, this is not always the case.
If you experience any of the following things, know the battle lines have been drawn and you’re better off hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer:
- Your employer isn’t giving you the necessary support
- Your employer is threatening to fire you if you don’t drop the claim
- Your initial compensation claim has been rejected
- The insurance company responds with a low settlement offer
- Your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation coverage, so you can’t file a claim.
Learn more about what a workers’ comp lawyer can do for you and then proceed to hire one.
What You Do After an Injury at Work Makes All the Difference
When you go to work, get injured on the job is the last thing on your mind. Unfortunately, workplace injuries are too common and you can be a victim.
If your worst fears come to pass and you suffer an injury at work, what you do next can mean the difference between life and death, and will help ensure you get the right compensation for your injuries and losses. The good news is we’ve already told you what you’ll need to do!
All the best and keep tabs on our blog for more employment and workplace insights.