Injuries happen — especially at work. In fact, approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states. If you become injured on the job, you must protect your rights in case your employer fights your workers’ compensation claim.
To do this, it’s imperative to follow these three steps. Each one is vital. They may sound like common sense, but they’re often overlooked or taken for granted. Thus, if you think you have a potential claim, be sure to follow this guide to make your case strong.
1. Report the Injury to Your Employer
Obviously, your employer must know you’ve been injured on the job, so be sure you immediately tell your supervisor, your coworker or someone in your chain of command. Document the injury according to company protocol. Ensure you get a copy of the documentation for your records.
Documenting the injury immediately protects your rights because it provides proof that you were hurt on the job. An injury will usually be considered work-related if it happens during the course and scope of your employment. Some injuries fall outside the scope of this clause, so check with a lawyer to be sure your injury is considered work-related, but do this after reporting the injury.
2. Seek Medical Treatment
Any injury can threaten your health, so go to a medical professional immediately. Ask for copies of the medical records and save any bills and all bills. You’ll need these later.
Be sure to follow up on any treatment the doctor you see advises. Always keep copies of the records and bills you receive. If you’re asked if your visit is related to a Workers’ Compensation claim, say yes. As with reporting your injury, document everything.
Also, as soon as you can, take photographs of your injury, especially when your injury doesn’t appear on an X-ray or other medical scan.
3. Explain to Medical Professionals You Were Hurt at Work
When seeking treatment, it’s not enough to simply tell the office staff or check off the box on the form you fill out that you have a Workers’ Compensation claim. You have to explicitly tell the doctor you’re there because you were injured on the job.
Explain to the medical professional what happened, how you were injured and what pain you’re experiencing. Be as detailed as possible. Even if you think a symptom is insignificant, report it. Again, you must document everything. Doing so will help with your claim should you need to file one.
Following these three steps can help you start a Workers’ Compensation claim the right way. If you have any questions regarding Workers’ Compensation laws, call the law offices of Eden Rafferty. We can assist you.