If you have experienced an injury at work, there’s a good chance that the injury will be covered by the company’s workers’ compensation insurance. There are state and federal regulations that require employers to maintain insurance precisely for the purpose of employee injuries. Nevertheless, there are steps that you should take to ensure your legal rights are protected. Some of these steps are likely part of the company’s internal procedures, but some will require self-directed action. Let’s delve a bit deeper.
Reporting the Injury
The first thing you should do is report the injury to your supervisor. Most companies have strict procedures and processes regarding how an injury should be reported. You should follow those procedures to ensure the injury is on record as soon as it occurs. Reporting the injury enables the company to file a workers’ compensation claim and initiate the process of ensuring you receive the proper care based on the nature of your injury.
Contacting a Lawyer
One of the most important steps that you will take after a workplace injury occurs is contacting a lawyer. This is not always necessary, but when it is, you should contact a lawyer that specializes in your industry. For instance, a New York construction accident lawyer will have the expertise to obtain the best outcome if you’re injured while working on a construction project in midtown Manhattan. You can also choose to work with an attorney that has broader expertise in workers’ compensation. By contacting an attorney, you can learn more about your rights, including any benefits that are available to you.
Receiving Medical Care
Unless it’s a minor injury that only requires first aid, you should see a doctor immediately following a workplace injury. Sometimes accidents are severe and require a visit to an emergency room, while other times you will receive instructions to visit the company’s workers’ compensation doctor. Each employer is different and some might allow you to see your own doctor. However, if the company requires you to see a doctor of their choosing, you can get a second opinion from your own doctor, especially if you have medical insurance. Your health is the most valuable asset that you have, so you’ll want to make it a priority to receive the care that you need.
Documenting the Incident
Similar to injuries related to an auto accident, you will be required to document the accident as soon as it’s reported to your employer. In fact, under workers’ compensation laws, it’s generally a requirement to document what happened within a certain timeframe. Whether or not you sustained a minor injury or a serious injury, it’s always important to communicate what occurred through the company’s incident reporting system.
Sometimes the effects of an injury are not immediately evident. If you had a workplace accident and a month later realized that an injury occurred, the documentation completed after it happened will help to ensure your right to proper medical care. Even if an injury did not occur during an incident, it’s important to document what happened because it allows the company to improve their safety program by implementing new processes and procedures to prevent serious injuries in the future.
Regardless of the company’s internal processes and procedures, you should ensure your rights are protected by speaking with a lawyer when an injury is sustained during a workplace accident. Many lawyers will offer a free consultation for individuals injured at work.