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No matter how careful you are, accidents happen. And if you work in an already potentially dangerous profession, you’re more at risk to experience an accident on the job.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace illnesses and injuries in 2018, many of those requiring at least one day off work.
Whether it’s the result of a fall, a slip, or being hit by something, here’s what you should do if you’re injured at work:
First and foremost, seek medical attention for your injuries or illness.
This may mean a visit to your primary care doctor, a trip to an urgent care facility, or, in severe cases, heading to the emergency room in an ambulance. If your doctor recommends imaging such as X-rays or CT scans, or you require immediate treatment such as surgery, get that treatment as soon as possible.
As long as your treatment is related to your workplace illness or injury, you are eligible to receive reimbursement for this treatment.
Notify Your Employer
In most cases, you have 30 days after your accident to formally notify your employer of your injury. This can be as simple as making an oral report of your accident to your supervisor, or you may be required to fill out an official paper report, depending on the process of your workplace.
Even if your supervisor was present at the time you were injured, do not assume they know about your injury. It’s best to be safe and make a separate report to your supervisor to be sure they know about your situation.
If you are injured so severely that you cannot make the report on your own, a member of your family can make a report for you.
Meet with an Attorney
Many workers are hesitant to get an attorney involved in their workers’ compensation case, as they fear it may endanger their job. However, it is illegal for any employer to retaliate against an injured employee who seeks legal counsel.
A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help you make sure you’re taking all the correct steps at the right times so your rights as an injured worker are protected.
They also can help you file a claim with the workers’ compensation officials, as well as maintaining accurate records of your time off work, medical treatment, and related bills.
If your doctor has recommended follow-up treatment such as surgery, physical therapy, or just plain bedrest, be sure to follow their instructions to the letter.
Your workers’ compensation case depends on you being cooperative with your medical professionals, and skipping appointments or refusing treatments may cost you your case. Do your best to keep all appointments, and promptly reschedule if you run into a scheduling conflict.
Keep Good Notes
Whenever you talk to anyone about your condition – your doctor, your boss, or your employer’s insurance company – take thorough notes with names, dates, and phone numbers if necessary.
Your attorney may want you to send all these notes to them, or just keep them in your own files for reference.
However, the more information you gather and keep organized, the better off you and your case will be down the road.
Stay off Social Media
While it may be tempting to post about your accident, your treatment, or your frustrations with the workers’ compensation process on your personal social media profiles, avoid doing this at all costs. Your employer may be able to gain access to these postings and could use them against you in court.
If you feel the need to vent, save that for family and close friends.
Return to Work
Once you’ve reached a state of healing where your doctors believe you’re capable of returning to work, even on modified duty, follow their instructions. This may mean you have to sit at a desk for a few weeks as you continue to heal, but don’t be tempted to call in sick just because you don’t like the job you’re doing.
Show up to work every day you’re physically able, and do the job to the best of your abilities. Refusing to show up to work after an injury, or complaining about the job you’re asked to return to, can cause you difficulties with your workers’ compensation case.
Washington, DC Workers’ Compensation Attorney
At Lopez Law Firm, we understand that getting injured at work can be stressful and scary. Not only are you injured, but you’re worried about how you’ll pay your bills while you’re off work.
Don’t worry – Our team has the knowledge you need to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured at work, don’t delay – Call Lopez Law Firm for a consultation today!