What to do After Being Injured at Work
Workers have rights, and they should never have to worry about whether they will be covered after a work injury. Every employer has a duty to provide a workplace that is free from known and foreseeable dangers that could harm employees.
However, accidents do happen in the workplace, and workers are regularly injured. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 2.8 million workers sustained non-fatal work injuries during the latest reporting year in the US.
If you are hurt at work, you need to know what steps to take to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to. This includes:
- payment for medical expenses
- partial compensation for wages lost while you recover
- payments for partial or total disabilities
- vocational counseling
- transitional work opportunities
Steps to take after a work injury occurs
There are several steps you need to take when a work incident causes you to become injured or ill.
- Obtain first aid
You need to seek medical attention for any injury you sustain at work, no matter how minor it may seem. The signs and symptoms of many injuries do not appear for hours or days after an incident takes place. Ensure you go to the hospital or doctor’s office so a medical professional can determine the extent of your injuries.
- Report the incident
You need to report the incident to your supervisor as soon as possible. This will start the workers’ compensation process.
- Get eyewitness information
Try to get the names and contact information of anyone who saw the incident that caused your injuries. This could come in handy if your employer or the insurance carrier tries to dispute what happened in order to deny your workers’ compensation claim.
- Keep a personal log of events
Keep track of everything in a journal or personal log after the incident. This includes missed days of work, out-of-pocket expenses, travel to and from the doctor or specializes, and any details of your injury.
- Follow the doctor’s orders
Follow all treatment plans prescribed by your doctor until you are fully recovered. If you fail to do so, your employer or their insurer may try to deny your claim or discontinue benefits.
- Seek legal assistance
Workers’ compensation claims are supposed to be no-fault, meaning that it does not matter who caused the injury. Whether the fault was yours or your employer’s, you should be entitled to compensation. However, it is not uncommon for employers or their insurance carriers to dispute or deny a claim. They may disagree with the fact of the case or the extent of your injuries. You may need to secure help from a Seattle work injury attorney to help ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to.
What if the injury was caused by a third party?
There are many instances in which a workplace injury is caused by a third party contractor. This is common in the construction industry, where there may be several companies or contractors on the same job site. Not all of them may follow proper safety protocols. If you are injured by a party other than your employer, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party (something you generally cannot do against your employer). This could mean you receive more compensation than you ordinarily would through workers’ compensation, such as pain and suffering or punitive damages.