Injuries in the workplace are quite common. Unfortunately, not all workers get the care they need after those injuries. While many understand that they may be due some kind of compensation due for injuries at work, there doesn't seem to be a great deal effort on the part of employers to educate employees about what to do after one of these injuries. Below are the steps you should take if you are injured on the job.
See a Doctor
If you're injured on the job, you should always see a doctor. As with any other injury, your health should be your paramount concern. While your employer may try to steer you to a doctor of their choosing, you have the right to see your own doctor. While workers' compensation may not necessarily pay for a second opinion, it's always important that you find out the full extent of your injury. Remember, your goal here is to avoid further injury - so make sure you get the information you need from a qualified medical professional.
Notify Your Boss
If you are hurt on the job, you absolutely must tell a supervisor. While you might fear repercussions for an injury, failure to notify the business of your injury can hurt you in the long run. In theory, notifying a supervisor should start the chain of events that will help you to get treatment and get any compensation that is necessary for getting your life back on track. Even if this doesn't occur, you risk running out your statutory time for the claim if you fail to inform your supervisor of the incident that caused your injury.
File a Claim
Your employer should provide you with a compensation form when he or she finds out that you have been injured on the job. If he or she doesn't do this, you should be able to get that form from your state's department of labor. This form should be filled out by both you and your employer and it does have a time limit as to when it must be filed. Make sure to keep a copy of the signed and dated forms, and if you must send the forms in do so via certified mail. It usually takes less than two weeks for the insurance company to get back in contact with you.
The compensation process after an injury can be incredibly combative. Even if your workplace follows all the rules, the onus is on you to make sure that everything is in order. Keep copies of all your documents in a safe place, with duplicates if possible. If you have any forms that must be notarized, make sure you have a notarized copy for all of your records. If at all possible, make sure you are copied on any emails that pertain to your injury and that you have some record of any documents that are sent via fax or mail. The more you keep track of, the less you'll need to worry about in the future.
Talk to an Attorney
Employees forget that their employers aren't always on their side. He goes on to say that many employees assume that the must take whatever their employers say at face value after an injury, even when the law may require more. Anyone who is injured at work should retain the services of an attorney as soon as possible says injury lawyer Stephen Babcock. In a best case scenario, the attorney will work to make sure that the employee remembers his or her rights. In a worst case scenario, though, the lawyer will be the person best suited to make sure the employer does the right thing.
If you've been injured on the job, you are the only person who can ensure that your own rights are protected. Talk to your employer, see a doctor, and make sure that your attorney has access to everything he or she might need. With a little work and the right professional help, your on-the-job injury won't have to lead to your financial ruin. Laws are in place to help you and a little knowledge can help you to ensure that those laws are followed.