A workplace injury is one of those things that you probably never expect to happen to you. It’s always someone else, which makes it seem less likely to happen to you. However, you’re at just as much risk as anyone else in your position. Knowing how to respond could not only save your life – it could also make your situation exponentially better down the road. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you go through an ordeal like this:
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Before doing anything else, seek medical attention. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are or what other responsibilities you have, your only focus should be on attending to your medical emergency. Company policy may require you to be seen by a certain doctor or specialist, unless it’s an emergency. Take this into account, but don’t let factors like this hold you back from getting the care you need right away.
Notify Your Employer
The next step is to notify your employer of what happened. You don’t have to do so immediately, but it should happen as soon as possible after the injury occurs. In fact, you may be bound by a certain statute of limitations if you plan on pursuing a claim.
Consider Worker’s Comp Viability
“An injury that was caused by an unexpected accident or incident that occurred in the course of employment generally qualifies as a worker’s compensation claim,” explains Ben Cochran, an attorney in North Carolina. “Occupational injuries that occur over time such as repetitive trauma injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome also can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Employees who are diagnosed with certain diseases that are associated with particular occupations or types of employment also may be covered by worker’s compensation.”
Don’t assume that you do or don’t qualify for workers’ compensation. You need to do your research and go through the required process of filing a claim. You certainly can’t receive these benefits if you don’t try.
As you recover from your injury and go through the process of filling out necessary workers’ comp paperwork, begin gathering any evidence you believe will be helpful for you. This may include medical reports, evidence at the scene of the accident, picture, verbal dictations of what happened, witness reports, and any other key details.
Focus on Getting Better
Don’t get so caught up in the logistics of the situation that you forget to take care of yourself. Sure, the process of dealing with workers’ compensation and gathering evidence to support your claims can be stressful, but you have to get better. If you aren’t following the doctor’s orders and focusing on rehabbing and recuperating, nothing else really matters.
Return to Work as Soon as Possible
Finally, you need to try your best to return to work as soon as possible. Don’t assume that returning to work will hurt your claim. You can still file and win a workers’ comp claim, even if you’ve returned to normal functioning. In fact, it’s often viewed as a positive thing that you’ve shown enough initiative to get back in action.
Look Out for Your Best Interests
There are situations in life where you have to look out for yourself. No matter how kind and helpful your employer is, this is one of those moments. Your company will try to protect its own bottom line – and who could blame them? You have to look out for your own health, safety, and financial security. If you feel like you’re getting overlooked or ignored, don’t be afraid to explore all of your options.