There are some jobs that lend themselves to potential harm: police officers, construction workers, even aviation positions. Other jobs, like office work, is inherently considered “safe,” but the truth is that workplace accidents can happen anywhere, at any time.
If you were involved in an on-the-job accident, you may need to file for workers’ compensation benefits to have your bills paid and any leave you might have to take to recover taken care of but to do this, you have to follow specific steps so you don’t lose your benefits.
Here are the 5 steps you need to take if you have been involved in a workplace accident.
5 Steps to Recovering From an On-the-Job Injury
1. Seek medical care. Serious injuries should always be taken care of at the emergency room initially, but after that, your employer should have a list of multiple doctors for you to choose from to follow up with. These will be physicians that have agreed to participate with your workers’ compensation insurance.
Treatment with a physician after an accident is required in order for your injuries to heal, but also to ensure there is proper documentation of your care.
2. Follow proper reporting protocol. You can’t simply show up at an emergency room, then go to any doctor for treatment and claim that it is a worker’s comp-related accident. Yes, emergencies are excluded from the necessary chain of command, but as soon as you can, you need to report your injury to your employer.
This report should be written and contain details of the accident and subsequent injury. Even if you don’t think it’s a serious injury, file a report. Minor problems can escalate into bigger medical concerns down the road, and filing a workers’ compensation report has a time limit on it.
3. Follow the doctor’s orders! Of course, it sounds like common sense, but many people think they are “healed” before they fully are. If you stop seeking care prematurely, it can result in an exacerbation of your injury and even more severity of symptoms.
Not only is your health at stake, but so are your workers’ compensation benefits. Neglecting to follow all recommended treatment plans can negate your insurance company’s responsibility to pay for your care in the future and can result in problems if you decide to file a lawsuit.
4. Document all missed work and money spent on your care. Time off of work can be paid back to you in the form of lost wages, and any money you spend on prescriptions, medical treatment, gas mileage, or any other out-of-pocket expenses. You may be able to recoup these losses from your workers’ comp company or from a lawsuit down the road should it be necessary.
5. Talk to a workplace accident attorney. Even if you don’t feel like you were seriously injured, always call a workers’ compensation lawyer after an injury on the job to cover your bases. They will let you know what to expect, advise you of your rights, and in general give you guidance along this new detour in your life.
Protect Your Own Best Interests
Remember, it’s the ultimate goal of every business, including insurance companies, to make the most money possible at the end of the year. For you, this means that their loyalty is to their bottom line, not to your health.
We all want to trust that everyone will do their job right, but unfortunately, it’s not always the case. Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side is never a bad thing, and it can come in quite handy when you are unsure as to what your rights and benefits are, but ultimately you are in the charge of your own recovery.