Injured at Work? 7 Steps You Need to Take After a Work Place Accident

An estimated 2.7 million non-fatal work injuries and illnesses occurred in the US in 2020. While that’s 5.7% lower than the previous year’s 2.8 million cases, it’s still 2.7 million too many.

So, if you’ve sustained an injury from a workplace accident, it’s vital to know what to do immediately. That way, you can ensure you’ll receive the compensation you may be eligible for.

To that end, we came up with this guide discussing what to do after you get injured at work due to a job-related accident. Read on to discover the steps and ensure you follow them all to a T.

Seek Medical Assistance Right Away

Go to the emergency room, a hospital, or a clinic right after you get injured in a workplace accident. Do that even if you haven’t visible injuries or feel any pain or symptom.

For starters, some accidents at work can cause injuries with delayed symptoms. For example, a fall can cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI) with few to no initial indications. That’s especially true for mild TBIs, which account for three-quarters of all TBI cases.

Another example is a whiplash injury, which can manifest in days, even weeks. Unfortunately, delaying whiplash treatment can result in the development of chronic symptoms. In some patients, the long-term effects of such injuries can even last for five years or more.

So, always remember that injuries with or without symptoms can worsen if left untreated. You must seek medical attention if you get into an accident at work. It’s for your own sake, as you want to get your treatment and recovery started immediately.

Besides, you’d need medical documentation of your injuries when you file a legal claim. The treating doctor will write and organize the paperwork on your behalf.

File a Work Place Accident Report

Let your employer know about your accident and injury as soon as your condition permits. However, it’s best to do it right away, as there’s always a deadline for accident report filings.

The due dates vary from state to state, so be sure to check yours. For example, workers in Wyoming and South Dakota only have 72 hours to file an accident case report. In other states, the deadlines range from 7 to 30 days.

Complete a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Injured employees must also fill out a separate workers’ compensation claim form. Employers, in turn, usually provide these forms after receiving the filed incident report. Sometimes, the documents may come from the state’s workers’ compensation board.

Ensure Your Employer Files the Workers’ Comp Claim

In many cases, employers are the ones who must file the completed workers’ comp claim forms. They must send these and supporting documents to their insurance carrier. One of those supporting documents is your medical report.

It’s imperative to follow up on the claim with your employer at least once. The last thing you want is for your employer to under-report, under-record, or even fail to file your case. Unfortunately, it’s expected, with some estimates putting its prevalence rate at 20% to 70%.

Be sure your employer files your claim within your state’s statute of limitations. That’s the deadline for filing workers’ comp claims. It also differs from the deadline for accident reports filed with employers.

The statute of limitations is more extended, ranging from six months to 4 years, depending on the state.

Follow Your Treatment Plan

Getting injured in a workplace accident usually results in days away from work (DAFW). For example, in 2019, the typical DAFW for fall, slip, trip, and overexertion injuries were 13 days. Such high-impact incidents, after all, require lengthy treatment and recovery periods.

Regardless of how long you need to be off work, be sure to follow your treatment plan. Doing so will help prevent further delays in returning to work.

Wait for Your Claim’s Approval

Employers and workers’ comp carriers usually have two to four weeks to process claims. During this time, they must decide whether to approve or deny a claim. It may take longer, such as if those parties need to investigate the case further.

It would help if you got a written notice of your claim’s status within a few weeks. If you don’t, follow up with your employer or contact the claims administrator.

If you still don’t receive updates, it’s time to call a workers’ compensation attorney. Your lawyer will be the one to communicate with the insurer on your behalf.

Your attorney will also ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Thus, if the insurer offers an unjust settlement amount, your lawyer will advise you not to take it. Instead, your legal advisor will negotiate an amount appropriate to your case.

File an Appeal for a Denied Claim

One thing to prepare yourself for is the possibility of your claim being denied. Although most claims get approved, insurance carriers rejected 7% in 2017.

That’s all the more reason to hire a workers’ comp attorney who can fight for your rights. Your lawyer will file an appeal so the initial results can be overturned. You may even get more than what the insurer would’ve paid if they approved your claim.

File a Workers’ Comp Claim Without Delay

Keep in mind that a workplace accident can lead to physical and psychological trauma. That’s why getting professional medical help is crucial right after you get injured at work.

From there, follow your treatment plan, and file a worker’s comp claim ASAP. That way, you can get the fair compensation you deserve.

Are you interested in other health, safety, and work-related articles like this? If so, then be sure to browse our informative and up-to-date news and blog posts!

Read also: 4 Excellent Business Marketing Ideas

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