Although companies work to avoid at-work injuries, unfortunate accidents happen. On average, 2.7 million employees receive serious or fatal injuries. Many don’t know what to do if this happens. To help, here are the next steps to take after getting hurt at work.
Get Medical Treatment
Receiving medical treatment is the most significant task done after a workplace injury. It doesn’t matter how minor you think the problem is, get treatment at a clinic, hospital, or doctor. What looks minor on the surface may hide internal damage like bleeding.
Your employer should have a list of designated medical providers you must visit within seven days of your injury. Save receipts related to treatment, parking, and mileage. These expenses might be reclaimable through your company’s workers comp insurance policy from an organization.
Report the Injury to Your Employer
You must report the injury to your employer within a time set by your state’s government. It’s usually within a week after the incident. It’s the only way to trigger a company investigation, which includes reporting the issue to their insurance company.
Make sure the complaint is in writing, and keep a copy for your records. Make this happen even if it’s past the time limit. Your employer and their insurer may accept it if you didn’t submit it on time due to your injury’s severity.
File a Claim
Your employer files an insurance claim when you report an incident. When they don’t have a policy, it’s up to you to file a request. For this reason, you contact the state for assistance instead of a commercial firm.
Most regional governments have programs to cover injured workers. For instance, Colorado residents fill out a Worker’s Claim for Compensation (WC15) to qualify for benefits under the state’s Uninsured Employer Fund.
The timeframe to request assistance varies from several months to a few years. It gives workers time to seek out other compensation forms as they heal from their injuries. Contact your local or state government for more information on the claim process and processing period.
Collect Information on Expenses
Expenses go beyond treatment for your injuries. Other costs include:
- Mileage, tolls, and gas to and from treatment centers
- Lost Wages
- Coverage for essentials like rent, food, and utilities
- Burial payments
Collect every receipt and invoice received for these items. You won’t receive proper compensation if you don’t have the evidence to back it up. Save it in a physical file and convert them into digital copies to store in a safe location on your computer.
On top of this, understand your benefits ahead of time. In addition to the items mentioned above, your worker’s compensation might also include coverage for permanent disability. What you receive depends on your wages and the company’s or state’s liability coverage.
Seek Legal Action
Should your claim be denied or you disagree with the settlement, you can appeal it through the court system. It doesn’t mean you’ll go to trial. Most likely, a settlement can be worked out through arbitration.
Here, a former judge or lawyer oversees the proceedings in a conference room instead of court. Both parties appear and present their reasons for more or fewer benefits. The arbiter helps to agree on payment and distribution.
However, if a compromise can’t be reached, the disagreement can go to court. In this case, your attorney will ask for the collected evidence related to the injury, treatment, and lost income. Their goal is to get you the best settlement possible in court.
Don’t be Unprepared
Don’t be unprepared when it comes to worker’s compensation. Ask about the company’s program upon hire. Consider another position if they don’t have an insurance policy to cover employee injuries.
Also, brush up on what your state provides in their uninsured fund if they have one at all. If you’re out of options, consider purchasing a compensation policy, such as short or long-term disability, to cover you should you be injured.
Don’t go into every job prepared to get injured. Employers work hard to maintain the safety of their workplaces to avoid potential problems. It’s how they keep employees happy and keep them on their payroll.
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