What to do if you get injured at work
In order to avoid people getting injured at work, companies have strict health and safety rules and programs. These rules ensure both employees and employers can work in a safe environment. Avoiding personal injuries can save employers money by not having to pay out compensation.
Despite the strict programs put in place to keep people safe, personal injuries will always happen. An employer has a duty to report and record accidents once it has happened. Failing to report any accidents in workplaces will not do employers any favors.
First things first
Getting yourself the correct first aid and medical attention is the most important thing to do after any type of personal injury. Once you are safe and sorted it is imperative that you report the incident as soon as possible.
Why it’s so important to report an accident immediately
Reporting an accident might seem obvious but when a person is injured at work and doesn’t require medical assistance they might not feel this is important. If you do not report an accident swiftly your employer could try to deny it ever happened. This could mean denying the costs of your medical expenses or any benefits you may be entitled to from missing any work you may have. It is also important to report an accident properly, in the correct way and on time.
Your employer should then report the accident to The Workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If this does not happen within a certain time frame it will be questioned and more than likely rejected. Private insurance won’t pay for any medical expenses caused from personal injuries you receive at work so if your claim is rejected you won’t receive any money at all.
Normally you would be entitled to three benefits if you are injured at work. Your employer should pay for your medical treatment, temporary disability benefits and a cash sum based on the grade of permanent injury.
Your employer could deny you all of these pay outs should you not report your accident within a timely manner. It is likely your employer will have strict deadlines for reporting accidents. On top of being denied any pay out from your employer, they could well be within their rights to suspend you without pay or formally reprimand you.
Some injuries do not always require immediate medical attention. Hurting your back through lifting heavy objects daily or a twisted joint after climbing down from a ledge might not need emergency doctor appointments. Reporting them to a supervisor may seem a little extreme or unnecessary at the time. This personal injury from the accident you suffered at work could result in much more serious pain and suffering in the future.
Reporting the accident and personal injury you received could protect you, especially if your employer tries to deny the incident.
How to correctly report an accident to your employer
So now you know how important it is to report your injury as soon as possible and within the correct time frame. Try to report the accident with details of the personal injuries you sustained in writing to your employer. If you cannot report it in writing for some reason it is a good idea to report it in front of a trustworthy witness. Union members can also report accidents to their unions as well as their employer.
Your employer or union normally have accident report forms which are the best and easiest ways to report accidents. This is not always the case however and if your employer does not already have a system in place it might be worth suggesting one. Here https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy11/sh-22224-11/3_Accident_Investigation_Form.pdf is an example of a report of injury form to download should you need it.
Reporting your accident within the suggested time frame is important. In most states workers normally have up to 90 days to report accidents. Some companies do impose shorter internal deadlines though.
However should you be late in reporting it, still following the correct procedure is imperative. You may still receive worker compensation benefits but it could take a lot longer and you may face much more troubles along the way.
Get as many witnesses as possible
Anyone that has seen the accident unfold can be your witness. The more the better.
Co-workers are normally your best witnesses. You normally know them well and they will have been working alongside you at the time of the accident. It is more than likely they will have a good understanding of the cause of the accident and the situation you were put in, which could be invaluable if your employer challenges what happened to you.
Getting an attorney
If you sustain an injury at work you will be entitled to workers compensation benefits. An attorney will be well educated in the rights of injured workers and will assist you in receiving everything you deserve in a timely matter.