Your employer is legally required to provide a safe working environment. They are also supposed to take you through health and safety training and grant all the necessary gear to protect your wellbeing while in the workplace.
But none of these are enough to safeguard employees fully. Thousands of workers lose their lives, and many more suffer devastating injuries while on the job every day.
If you end up being a victim of a workplace injury, you’re also entitled to some compensation. However, you must follow the necessary protocols to ensure your employer and insurer pay the claim.
Below are a few tips on what you can do to protect your rights after suffering an accident at work.
Do These After You’ve Suffered An Accident At Work
1. Report The Incident
Generally speaking, you’re supposed to report to your supervisor or manager. However, this may be different in some companies depending on the protocols put in place.
But whatever the case is, you should report the incident right away. If your organization keeps an accident book, make sure to record the accident in the book as well.
Why is it important to report the accident quickly? Because this creates a direct link between the incident that happened and your injuries. If you do not report in advance, your employer may argue that the injuries happened elsewhere and are not related to the unreported incident at work.
Reporting early also helps to initiate the process of getting you the compensation you deserve. After all, your employer can only file the compensation with the workers’ compensation commission once you’ve reported the incident.
You should know that states also have deadlines on when you can report workplace accidents. Tennessee’s laws, for instance, require workers to make a formal report to their employer within 15 days of getting injured.
Some states like South Carolina provide a bigger window of around 90 days. This is enough time to learn how to file a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina and make your official report. However, workers’ compensation attorneys will encourage you to file the report as early as possible. Do not wait until the 90th day.
2. Seek Medical Help
After making a formal report, the next step is focusing on your recovery. This involves seeking medical help and going through any recovery therapies that your physician may recommend.
In most cases, an employer will recommend specific doctors to you. This usually happens due to the agreements companies and insurers have with certain medical centers.
It’s advisable to visit the doctors recommended by the employer.
However, if you are unsatisfied with the physician, you’re free to consult your primary medical practitioner. But be sure to keep a record of all consultations and expenses incurred during these visits.
When getting the treatment, tell the doctor that the injuries are work-related. They should also point this down in the records.
Many insurers fight their way out of claims when the medical records fail to specify that the injuries happened on the job. So don’t ignore this.
3. Record Your Expenses And Losses
Your case can only be as strong as the evidence you have. In workplace injury claims, the evidence is your medical records and all out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to the accident at work.
Record and store all the evidence carefully. Take note of how many days you’ve been out of work due to the accident. This will come in handy when calculating the wage replacement for missed days. But you should know that the replacement is usually 60 to 75% of your usual wage.
You must also keep track of all medical expenses. This includes travel expenses, consultations and prescriptions fees, therapy charges where applicable, etc.
Something else you don’t want to overlook is the scene of the accident. If you’re not seriously injured, take pictures of the scene showing exactly what happened. If you can’t do it yourself, ask a colleague you trust to assist you with the task.
4. Consider Hiring A Workers Compensation Attorney
Following up a worker compensation process can be very hectic. Your own employer and the insurer can make the process even harder for you. That’s why hiring a workers’ compensation attorney is highly recommended.
When should you hire the attorney? Well, you’re entitled to representation throughout the process.
Therefore, you can consult and hire a lawyer as soon as the accident occurs. This actually helps in ensuring the process runs smoothly.
But, if your employer is committed to giving you the benefits you deserve, then an attorney may not be necessary.
Having said that, you can always appeal your employer’s decision should they end up giving you unsatisfactory compensation.
It’s unfortunate that companies and insurance providers tend to fight legitimate claims. So use the above tips to ensure your rights are protected throughout this process. If you encounter any hiccups, hire an experienced attorney and let them take over.