What Do I Do if I Am Injured at Work?

If you’re suffering from a workplace injury, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BSL), private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses between 2018 and 2019.

The immediate steps you take following a workplace injury incident are critical. In this blog post, Bernard Stuczynski Barnett & Lager, your go-to attorneys for vehicle accidents, Workers’ Compensation claims, and filing for disability, provide a list of the three essential actions you should take when a personal injury occurs at the workplace.

Know the Signs (and Take Preventative Measures)

There are many indicators that you might be suffering from a workplace injury. There will likely be evidence suggesting you have sustained an injury during work, such as cuts from broken glass or bruises from moving equipment. According to the National Safety Council’s Top Work-Related Injury Causes, there are eight common causes for workplace injuries:

  • Overexertion and bodily reaction (e.g., using tools on a construction site, loading trucks, typing on a keyboard while sitting at a desk); 275,590 injuries
  • Falls, slips, and trips; 244,000 injuries
  • Contact with objects and equipment; 229,410 injuries
  • Transportation incidents; 49,430 injuries
  • Violence and other injuries caused by persons or animals; 44,480 injuries
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments; 36,840 injuries
  • Nonclassifiable; 6,770 injuries
  • Fire and explosions; 1,700 injuries

Injuries that have occurred in the workplace may manifest in a number of different ways:

  • Changes in physical abilities (decreased dexterity or speed, coordination stamina)
  • Frequent trips to the doctor or hospital visits
  • Inability to return to work for an extended period of time following release from medical care
  • Changes in mental health (depression, anxiety, emotional distress, stress)
  • Sudden change in sleeping patterns

While some incidents are unavoidable, there are several actions you can take to prevent injuries in the workplace.

When operating equipment, always wear the recommended safety equipment and refrain from taking any shortcuts. You should also follow your employer’s dress code, stay alert, and ask for assistance from coworkers when it comes to more complicated tasks.

Report the Injury

In the event of an injury at work, report to your supervisor immediately. In most cases, employers will not be aware of the incident if they were not witness to it. What’s more, reporting to your supervisor is one of the first steps in obtaining workers' compensation. The sooner you act, the more time you will have to pursue your claim and receive compensation.

Be aware that many states have a Workers' Compensation Statute of Limitation, which means there are individual deadlines for reporting your injury to your employer and for filing an injury claim. These deadlines are often fact-specific, so be sure to consult an attorney if you have a concern as to when you should file for workers’ compensation.

If your employer has withheld or destroyed documents related to your injury, contact us immediately to assist in obtaining copies of these forms for your records. The best course of action is to have a lawyer guide you through this process, as well as with any information and documentation regarding medical treatment. 

Seek Medical Treatment

In severe cases, you may have no choice but to seek medical attention before you are able to report your injury. In 2018, the BSL recorded that approximately 333,930 workplace injuries or illnesses resulted in an employee visiting a medical treatment facility.

Your health care provider will likely provide instructions for your treatment, but they may also include some form of physical therapy, medication, or medical equipment. Keep detailed records of your treatments and their costs to present them during a workers' compensation claim. In addition to your medical records, save all documentation of lost wages or benefits and any other evidence that proves you were injured on the job. Most importantly, be sure to stick to your doctor’s restrictions to avoid reinjury or worsening of an existing injury. 

Here’s what Workers’ Compensation generally covers:

  • Income benefits
  • Medical and rehabilitation costs
  • Funeral expenses
  • Death benefits
  • Specific loss benefits (e.g. certain types of scarring and disfigurements, amputations, loss of use of certain body parts, hearing loss, et cetera)

You may feel like you're in shock after an accident occurs in your workplace, but the sooner you act, the more time you will have to obtain compensation for injuries. Our team of personal injury attorneys at Bernard Stuczynski Barnett & Lager are ready to help you fight for your rights. 

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