For most of us, our jobs are a huge part of our life. We spend much of our time there, build friendships and of course, receive the source of income that pays for us to live and provide for our families. The thought of getting injured and not being able to work is a horrible one and even more so if that injury occurs while on the job. You might have thoughts such as “how will I pay my bills if I can’t work?” or “will I have a job to come back to once I am able to work again?”
Thankfully, there are laws in place and often times insurance policies as well that can help protect you if such an incident occurs. Even so, if you are injured at work, there are a few things that you must do, and a few things you must NOT do, in order to ensure the best possible outcome following an injury on the job.
Here is a list of the things you should and should not do following an on the job injury:
Tell someone immediately – Regardless of whether you believe the injury to be serious or not, notify your employer immediately. This will ensure that a record is kept of the date and time of the injury as well as the details of what happened. Many states have time limits as to how soon after an incident it must be reported. If these time limits aren’t adhered to, you may end of waiving many of your rights to recover compensation.
Seek immediate medical care – Again, even if you think the injury is not serious, you should be seen by a physician. Sometimes a serious injury may not appear that worrisome initially. In addition, the additional records created by your doctor can help to back up your claim in the future if needed.
Contact an attorney – While you may not intend to file a lawsuit following your injury, contacting an attorney is a wise step to ensure someone is working on your behalf as you deal with your incident. They can help to collect records, your statement of facts, and deal with the employer and their insurance company directly.
Follow the doctor’s orders and document everything – Make sure to comply with all the instructions given to you by your doctor. If you don’t, it is possible that your employer or their insurance company will look to deny compensation stating that your injury and time off work would have been much less if you had complied with the prescriptions given to you.
Sign any paperwork given to you by your employer or their insurance company without having your attorney present – In many cases following an on the job injury, a company may try to get the injured person to sign a statement saying they will not hold the company liable for their injury or to limit the amount of compensation the company may owe. Do not sign, instead, present the paperwork to your attorney and let them advise you on the next best plan of action.
Post publicly about the incident – These days, many of us post our daily activities and events on social media. This is a huge mistake when dealing with an on the job injury. Anything you post or even tell others can be used against you in the case of a lawsuit or a hearing concerning your compensation. To be safe, limit your conversations to those you have with your attorney and follow their advice as to what to say and when to say it.
Return to work before you are completely healed – Make sure you are cleared by your doctor before returning to work. If you come back too early and are still injured and this causes your injury to worsen, you may be personally liable for this and in effect, waive the ability to collect the full amount of compensation due you.
While we all hope to never have to deal with such an event, if you are ever injured on the job, make sure to follow the tips above to ensure the least possible financial disruption to your life and the best possible outcome if such an event should happen.