Getting injured while working is far from an enjoyable experience. In fact, it’s an experience you may have hoped would never occur. If the injury is serious enough, you’ll likely get some time off, but it won’t be a vacation. You’ll be facing recovery and a legal situation to receive your workers’ compensation benefits. Some injuries will have quick recovery times, others may take weeks or months, and some result in permanent disability.
This isn’t to scare you, but tell you the truth about workplace injuries and to tell you that you have every right to be heard and compensated for your injury. There are steps you can and should take (if you are physically able) after being injured to increase the possibility of receiving fair compensation toward your recovery costs and other necessities. If you cannot take these steps unassisted, have someone help you as they are vital to your claim’s success.
1. Collect evidence
If your body allows you to after your injury, document what’s around by taking pictures and video, or ask your co-worker to help. An eye-witness account would also benefit you. To get a worker’s comp claim approved, you must prove the employer’s negligence caused your injury. Any justified evidence will help your case.
2. Report the injury to your employer
Employers may try to take advantage of your procrastination and cite your reporting delay when denying the claim if you don’t alert your employer of the injury promptly and be detailed.
3. See the doctor as soon as possible
To gain an accurate representation of your injury’s severity, see a doctor quickly after the accident. Make sure they understand that this injury happened at work and that they write down how it happened. Ensure your story matches each time you tell it as changing small details, even unintentionally, could hinder the chances of an accepted claim.
4. Store all records
Any document or piece of information related to out-of-pocket medical expenses, miles traveled costs, and workdays missed should be stored and be ready for deployment.
Lastly, hire a workers’ compensation attorney and file a claim—the legal world of workers’ comp is complicated. Many employers and their insurance companies may use every tactic in their book to try and deny the claim. This isn’t true with all companies as some want to help their employees recover, but it does happen. No matter the course, facing this legal battle alone would be tough to handle and understand. Also, be aware that if your claim is initially denied, the likelihood of an appealed and converted claim is decent, and you may end up with more compensation than you were originally seeking.