You grab a ladder to stock a shelf at work. When you’re done putting up your box of shampoo, you step down and lose your footing. You hit the ground and on top of everything else, the ladder folds up and falls on you.
Every seven seconds someone is injured on the job as you just were. While accidents happen and not all of them are preventable, it’s important that you get proper compensation to cover your injuries.
To help you get the treatment you need and get back on your feet, here is a short guide on what to do after an injury on the job.
1. File the Accident Report
A lot of states have strict deadlines for filing an accident report. That means you need to report any sort of accident even if you seem to be fine. If you wait until you start experiencing symptoms of injury weeks down the line then it is very unlikely that something will be able to be done.
Besides, the sooner you report it to your supervisor, the sooner they can start taking measures to fix whatever it was that hurt you. By reporting, you may be able to stop someone else from getting injured.
2. Workers’ Comp Laws
Most states require employers to have some type of workers’ comp insurance. This insurance will stop employees from suing a company over workplace injuries. Instead, of blaming their employer for negligence, the injured person goes straight to the compensation part of the deal.
The real only exception to this rule in the case of asbestos. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos and have suffered from injuries such as mesothelioma then you have a case. You can sue your employer for damages.
What If Your Workplace Doesn’t Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?
It is illegal to operate a business if you don’t have some type of worker’s Comp insurance. The only exception is farmworkers and independent contractors. If you don’t fall under one of these categories and the company you are working for doesn’t have insurance, they violating the law.
If you aren’t getting taken care of by your employer, you may need to sue. Calling an attorney is always a good idea. If you and your attorney decide to sue, make sure that you don’t take any form of compensation from them. Your lawyer will help you file the claim correctly and make sure you get everything you deserve.
3. Situations Where Workers’ Comp Laws Won’t Help You
Under the workers’ comp laws, you could get compensation even if the injury is due to your own negligence. There are a few situations where it can’t help you though. One of those situations is if you were hurt as a result of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on the job.
You may also not be entitled to coverage if you are hurt while you’re commuting to work or you were fighting/horseplaying with one of your co-workers.
4. Talk to Your Doctor
As soon as the incident happens you will need to see a doctor or go to the emergency room if it’s bad enough. Some employers require you to go to a certain doctor or it won’t be covered under workers’ comp. You should ask your supervisor for details to make sure you go to the correct facility.
If you didn’t like the care you got from that doctor or you want a second opinion, then consider going in for another appointment with someone else. While you may have to pay for this second appointment out of your own pocket, it could give you some peace of mind.
5. Report Your Injuries
After you’ve gone to your doctor’s appointment and you’re sure you know what is wrong with you, report these injuries to your employer. They are the ones that are to file the workers’ comp claim and they can’t do that unless they know about your injuries.
Follow up a few weeks later to make sure that your supervisor filed the claim. If they did, then ask for a copy of it. You are entitled to it and you may need it later if you decide to get a lawyer involved in the situation.
6. Getting a Lawyer
Before filing your claim it may be a good idea to consult a lawyer. Consultation is usually free and you get a second eye to look over your paperwork for you.
Even if you know what you’re looking at, it’s possible for you to miss something. An experienced lawyer will not. They can look at your case and give you a list of everything you are entitled to.
7. What to Do If Your Claim Is Denied
It’s possible that you’ll do all this and your claim will still be denied. Don’t take no for an answer. Your denial could have been the case of a simple miscommunication and can be revisited.
If you are covered under FECA, you can do one of two things. You can go to the Branch of Hearings and Review to request an oral hearing of your application. If you have more evidence to go toward your case, you can submit it during this time.
The second thing you can do is write to the District Office. You won’t be able to do both of these things.
If you aren’t covered by the FECA, the process isn’t that much different. It depends on your state.
Steps to Take If You Have Suffered an Injury on the Job
Getting an injury on the job can be devastating. You don’t want pursuing your compensation to add on to the stress. Use these tips to navigate the process.
Do you need a lawyer to take a look at your workers’ comp case? Contact us to schedule your consultation.