First Steps After A Work Related Injury
After a work related injury, you likely will have several main concerns. Your first concern is probably going to be related to getting medical treatment- you'll want a doctor to look at you and access and treat your injuries. You will, however, also want to be sure you are able to collect damages from your employer for the injury. An accident at work can leave you with very high medical bills and may even render you unable to work and provide income for yourself or to support your dependents. As such, a workers compensation system has been put into place to allow injured workers to collect damages for a work related injury; however, you'll need to do certain things after the injury occurs to preserve your right to recover those damages.
First Steps to Take After a Work Related Injury
There are several key steps to take after a work related injury:
- In an emergency situation, get medical care as soon as possible. Nothing is as important as your health, and in a life or death situation or cases of very serious injury, you need to focus on getting medical attention before you focus on anything else
- Contact your employer right away. If you can, contact your employer before going to the hospital or to get medical help. In some states, the employer is entitled to chose the doctor or provider of medical care for workers comp claims, and if this is the case, you'll want to make sure you go to the right doctor so your full medical bills are covered. Again, don't worry about this is if you need emergency medical attention- but otherwise, following the proper protocol to find out where to get medical care is a good idea.
- Provide written notice of your injury. Some states and/or insurance companies have specific forms you must fill out when an injury occurs. There is also a time limit for letting your employer know of your injury in most cases, and waiting too long may make it impossible to recover damages. In some states, the time limit is "as soon as possible" or within a few days, while in others, you might have several months or years to file your notice of injury
Once you have gotten through these initial steps, you will proceed with your claim by providing any and all other evidence your employer needs to process your claim for your work related injury, depending on the situation and the nature of the injury and claim.
In the majority of situations, contacting an experienced workers compensation attorney is another step you should take early on in the process. Your lawyer can guide you through each of the required steps for filing your work injury claim so you can make sure your claim is approved as quickly as possible with no delays or denials.