Hurt on the Job? Follow This Step by Step Action Plan
On the job injuries and accidents at work can happen at any time. Knowing what to do and what not to do can make all the difference. Protect yourself by taking the correct steps promptly. Don’t make mistakes that can reduce your potential settlement and impact your workers’ compensation benefits.
#1: Report Your Injury Right Away
When you are injured on the job, even if you think it’s not serious, the most important action step is to tell your employer what happened immediately. Reporting the accident to your supervisor must be done straight away. To have the best chance of compensation for your injury or accident that occurred at work, tell your employer what happened right away.
Protect yourself by notifying your supervisor immediately, because what seems like a minor injury at the time it happens can worsen over time. Do not delay reporting an incident due to concerns about putting your job in jeopardy.
#2: Tell Your Employer about Past on the Job Injuries
Failing to disclose previous on the job injuries can negatively impact your current benefits. Make sure that you report all injuries and accidents that happen at work in a timely manner. Even minor injuries need to be reported because failure to report past incidents can make you ineligible for worker’s compensation benefits. Concerns about losing your job are not a justifiable reason not to report accidents at work. Your future claims to worker’s compensation may be compromised, and you may be accused of fraud and be denied benefits and/or be asked to repay benefits.
When you are completing paperwork and medical history forms related to your work-place accident, include details about previous injuries on the job. Inform medical professionals about your complete medical history. Even unrelated injuries and conditions must be reported. Your employer’s insurance company will attempt to use the information to deny your claim due to pre-existing conditions rather than the current on the job accident.
#3: Make a Complete Report of All Injuries
When you are talking with your doctor about your injury, be complete about what happened and the extent of your injuries. For example, if the main injury is to your knee, but your hip is sore too, be sure to report secondary injuries like your sore hip right away too because delaying or failing to report all your injuries may be considered worker’s compensation fraud. It is best to describe the incident to your doctor and include any pain or discomfort you are experiencing.
When you are reporting information to your doctor, also include any symptoms you are experiencing even if they seem to be unrelated. For example, if you are experiencing nausea, vision problems, or muscle weakness, they can be side-effects of a more serious concussion or head injury or exposure to fumes or chemicals at work.
Also, be sure to tell your doctor about new or worsening symptoms once you begin treatment. You may experience changes in pain levels as you heal, notify your doctor.
Be proactive about your treatment and prepare a list of questions and concerns for your doctor before each appointment. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask for more information about the treatment plan or your diagnosis. While it is true that your doctor’s time with you is limited, maximize your appointment time by having your questions or concerns in mind in advance to avoid forgetting to mention an important detail about your claim or to ask a question to clarify your treatment plan.
After appointments with your doctor, you will be informed of your work status. The doctor will determine whether you are unable to work, can return to “work with restrictions” or perform “light duty.” When you are medically cleared to return to work, your employer must comply with the doctor’s recommendations and find you a suitable position that is in line with your restrictions.
#4: Return to Work According to Your Doctor’s Recommendations
Follow your doctor’s advice and return to work as directed. You must accept the position offered by your company that meets your doctor’s recommendations about restrictions and/or light duty. Although the new position may be lower paid than your previous position in the company, failure to accept the job may result in loss of your current and future worker’s compensations benefits. Your employer may also terminate your job due to “refusal to work.”
If you disagree with your doctor’s recommendations and believe you cannot perform the job with appropriate restrictions offered by your employer, you must still return to work as planned and try to complete your job duties. If as a result, you can show the tasks don’t meet your restrictions, then you are eligible to file a claim that you cannot complete the assigned duties of the new position.
#5: Hire a Lawyer to Represent Your Best Interests
Protect your rights and ensure you will receive the compensation you are entitled to. If you are injured on the job, do not hesitate to seek legal representation. Although it is possible to represent yourself, it is not advisable to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Your employer and their insurance company have hired attorneys to represent their best interests. It is extremely important that you too have a lawyer to guide you through the worker’s compensation process to get the benefits you are entitled to.
When you are injured, your priority should be recovering and following the treatment recommendations of your doctor. The added stress of trying to handle the complexity of a worker’s compensation claim may derail your healing process and increase your time off from work.
Hiring an attorney ensures that your best interests are represented. After all, your employer and insurance company are well represented by lawyers whose goal is to avoid paying your benefits. Even injuries and accidents that appear to be clear-cut worker’s compensation related can be delayed in the intricate workings of insurance and medical claims.
Contacting an attorney for a free consultation will give you peace of mind and essential information to protect your best interests. Contact us online or call 713-893-8808.