Posted in Work Injury on February 10, 2020
Whether it’s a slip while walking through the office, or a gash on your hand while opening boxes, workplace injuries can happen when you least expect them. While the severity of these injuries can certainly vary, what doesn’t change is the importance of understanding exactly what should be done after any of these incidents occur— both to make sure you know your options, and to ensure you don’t accidentally waive any of your rights.
So, when it comes to being injured on the job, what should you do to protect yourself?
1. Tell Your Boss Immediately, in Writing
While it may seem like a simple verbal conversation should be good enough, it’s imperative that you document any injuries that happen during working hours in writing. Why? For starters, this ensures that you have a record of the incident. Remember, this can be referred to if you ever need to reference an accurate account of what happened at the time. However, beyond that, there are legal ramifications that can happen if you don’t properly report and record your injury. More specifically, not reporting an injury promptly in writing could mean waiving your right to worker’s compensation benefits in some states.
2. Visit a Doctor
Although it may not seem like your injury is severe, it’s important to get a doctor’s opinion from the very beginning. Not only does this add additional documentation to the incident, it can prove that the injury was the starting place for other issues (should you have them). You may not feel like you’re in a lot of pain now, or that the injury was severe enough to warrant a doctor’s visit, but it’s possible that you’ll begin feeling worse or compounded issues down the road. With that in mind, it’s important to be able to prove that a doctor examined you, is acknowledging your initial injury, and is recording your symptoms from the very beginning.
3. Consult a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workplace injury cases can be exhausting. They can turn into situations that require a lot of paperwork, a ton of back-and-forth, and can lead to a substantial amount of frustration. Although it’s not always necessary to hire a lawyer immediately, it’s always a good idea to at least consult with one, especially since they’ll be extremely informed of the laws in your state. Should you decide to partner with them, they can ensure that you’re being treated fairly and know all of your options— something that’s imperative before making any decisions that could unknowingly affect you in the long term.
While workplace injuries may not seem like a big deal at the time, it’s important to take specific steps to make sure your rights remain intact. With proper documentation and the advice of someone who knows the ins and outs of the law in your state, you’ll not only safeguard your rights in the short term, you’ll ensure that you’re protected in the long run.