Many people are hurt on the job each year in the United States, and about 6,000 workers die every year due to injuries sustained at work. These types of injuries are varied, and not what you might expect. About 7 million people are injured in slip-and-fall accidents alone; according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2012, 375 employees were even killed in shootings. So what should you do if you’re hurt at work and need coverage for your medical expenses or lost wages?
The first thing you should do, seeking help from a work injury attorney if necessary, is determine if the job site was hazardous. If the workplace was in violation of safety regulations and you were hurt as a result, then a personal injury lawsuit may be the best course of action. But in most cases, a workers compensation claim is the appropriate response. Workers compensation is a kind of insurance most employers are required to purchase, and it pays out on a no-fault basis (meaning that you don’t need to establish negligence in order to make an accident injury claim). Here’s what you should do if you are hurt and think you’re entitled to workers compensation:
- Report the Injury Immediately
The reporting period in which you must file a claim for an accident varies from state to state, but can be quite short. That means you shouldn’t wait to report your injury to your employer. Even if you’re not sure if you’ve been injured or not, it’s a good idea to report any accident that might cause injury; at the very least, steps might be taken to prevent such accidents in the future.
- Ask Your Boss to File a Report
Once you’re sure you’ve been injured, you should ask your supervisor or a designated person to file a claim on your behalf with the company’s insurance company. You probably won’t be able to file anything yourself, and one of the downsides of workers compensation is that you’ll probably need to see practitioners designated by the company, rather than ones that you choose.
- Keep Copies of All Documents
You should get a copy of your claim, as well as any documentation from that point onward. You can keep copies of medical documents, too, but bills should be sent directly to your employer, not to you. If your attempts to alert your employer to your problem are ineffective, then you should keep records of all your interactions. These may become important later if you need to pursue further legal action with a work injury attorney.
Work injury attorneys or employment attorneys can also advise you as to your rights on retaining or returning to your job after treatment; it’s important that you stay in contact with your employer and make sure all your rights as an employee under the Americans With Disabilities Act are respected so that a wrongful dismissal lawsuit doesn’t also become necessary.