When it comes to personal injury, most people know what to do if they’re hurt during an auto accident or they slip and fall inside of a store. Work injuries present a different challenge. If you’re hurt while at work, then there are additional steps you’ll need to take to file an appropriate claim for workers’ compensation. Even if you don’t think your employer will cover your medical bills, you may have a right to file a claim for damages depending on the situation. Only an attorney will be able to evaluate the situation thoroughly, but here are five steps to take if you’re injured on the job.
1: See a doctor immediately.
When you get hurt on the job, you need to see a doctor right away even if the injury doesn’t seem serious. You may not realize the full extent of the injury, and you’ll need official medical records to apply for workers’ compensation or to file a personal injury claim. Check with your employer first, though. Some companies designate a specific provider to see in cases of workers’ compensation, and you’ll only be reimbursed for the care if you visit the right provider.
2: Notify your employer in writing.
Your employer may know what happened, but you still need to inform your manager or supervisor about the incident in writing. Sign and date the statement, and be as specific as possible. Include the conditions surrounding the incident, what you were doing, what others around you were doing, and any other pertinent details so that the insurance claims adjuster has a complete picture of the situation.
3: Adhere to the state guidelines for workers’ comp.
Every state handles workers’ compensation in its own way, and each state’s Labor Department operates a Division of Workers’ Compensation to facilitate claims. Check your state’s Labor Department website for information on how to file a claim and the steps you need to take to ensure a smoother process.
4: Follow up with the insurance company.
Your employer pays for workers’ compensation insurance so that injuries don’t have to come out of the employee’s pockets directly. Once you seek medical help from the appropriate source, your claim will be filed with the employer’s workers comp insurer. Follow up with this company to see if they need any additional information. Often, insurance companies don’t outline everything they need up front, which can cause a delay in payment. If your claim is denied and you can’t get anywhere, then it may be time to speak with a licensed personal injury attorney.
5: Talk to an attorney who specializes in personal injury.
If your injuries cause you to miss a lot of work or prevent you from functioning as usual, then you may have a case for the courts. Speaking with a personal injury attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation could help you understand your rights and force negligent parties to take appropriate responsibility. Do note that not all injuries are actionable, but it’s important to gain a clearer understanding of your rights, especially if you’re being jerked around by your employer or the insurance company.