Getting injured at work is stressful. For one, you're hurt.
Two, you'll need to go through the paperwork-laden process of reporting your injury. And three, you'll have to avoid the many pitfalls that can limit your workers’ compensation.
Whether you slipped on a wet floor or strained a muscle lifting a heavy item, you need to take the proper steps to ensure compensation for your injury. In this blog post, Erie Injury, your go-to lawyers for effective personal injury representation, outlines what actions you should and should not take when injured on the job.
A Quick Look at Workplace Injuries
Accidents occur on the job more often than you might think. The National Safety Council (NSC) stated a workplace injury occurs every seven seconds, which tallies up to a total of 88,500 individual injuries a week—that’s 4,600,000 injuries a year.
Of course, some industries such as emergency services, transportation, and manufacturing come with a higher risk of injury. Although proper training and guidance help minimize workplace injuries, accidents still happen. The most common injuries are:
- Overexertion (33.54%)
- Contact with objects and equipment (26%)
- Slips, trips, and falls (25.8%)
What You Should Do
When you’re injured on the job, it’s critical to follow specific guidelines in order to maintain and protect your workers' compensation benefits. If you have an accident at work:
Receive Immediate Medical Attention (And Keep Records). If a person or object has severely injured you on the job, do not attempt to move as it can cause further injury and pain. Instead, call 911 to receive immediate medical care or have someone call for you. Follow your doctor’s orders after receiving medical attention and establish whether you have sustained any permanent injuries.
During this process, it is imperative that you keep documentation of your medical records, including receipts and bills. If you do not see a doctor, proving that you were injured is significantly more difficult. It may also create unwanted issues and processing delays with insurance companies.
Asking witnesses on the scene to help corroborate your injury claim will help you in your fight to receive proper compensation. You should ask for the witness’s name, address, and phone number so that the insurance agency may contact them if necessary.
Report Your Injury
Once you have received medical care, report your injury to your supervisor as soon as you are able. However, you should refrain from providing extraneous details regarding your physical health and mental/emotional state. Often, because we’re scared and confused during the time of an injury, our actual account of the situation may be different than what happened in reality.
So, when contacting your supervisor, simply inform them of the incident, including the date, time, and exact location. If you can, keep a written account of this report.
Speak to an Attorney
After seeking medical attention and reporting your injury, consult and hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case. An attorney will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve by reviewing all of your documents as well as the laws that pertain to your incident.
What You Shouldn’t Do
When it comes to reporting a personal injury, certain actions you can take may hinder your claim. Here is what you shouldn't do after getting hurt at work:
Give a Recorded Statement: Insurance companies seek out recorded statements in order to find any faults in your claim. The problem is, people are often confused about what actually occurred when they were injured. For this reason, avoid giving a recorded statement until the facts are straightened out and you've talked to a lawyer and medical professional.
Furthermore, do not discuss the details of your accident with those who are not involved in your case. If you do, make sure to have a lawyer present. He/She/They will prevent you from falling into early settlement traps set by insurance companies.
Sign a Medical Release: If an insurance company asks you to sign a medical release, your answer should be no. While pre-existing conditions can be a cause, oftentimes they have nothing to do with a workplace injury. If you sign a medical release form, insurance companies may attempt to argue that your work-related injury is due to your prior injury or pre-existing condition.
At the same time, hiding your injuries may harm your case. How you choose to disclose your prior injuries can make or break your case, which is why you should hire and speak to an attorney for guidance.
In short, insurance companies will use any information they find in your records to lower your settlement or deny your claim. You are not required to sign a blanket medical authorization form to receive workers' compensation benefits.
Accept Premature Settlements: Personal injury lawyers will see that you obtain a fair injury settlement, which is why it’s crucial to hire one. If you settle too early and without a lawyer, it is unlikely that you will get the compensation to which you are entitled. An experienced attorney knows what your case is worth and how to maximize your case’s value.
Your Personal Injury Lawyers
Whether you’ve been injured by work equipment or have fallen on the job, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The attorneys at Erie Injury will assist you in making the most out of your case by thoroughly investigating your claim at no cost to you. Call 814-452-6232 for a free consultation, or visit our contact page for more information!