Hurt on the Job? What to do Before and After a Workplace Injury
No one likes to think about getting hurt on the job, but a workplace injury happens when we least expect it. Work can be dangerous, especially if you work in a place or in a profession that is high-risk, such as construction, hospitality, or anything involving machinery or manual labor. In these high-risk industries, it’s especially important to know what to do before and after a workplace injury.
Know Your Rights – Understand How the Employer’s System Works
When you first start a job, get familiar with your employer’s coverage and accident/injury policies and procedures before you’re faced with a workplace injury or accident.
Self-insured vs. Fully-insured
Self-insured employers typically pay money into a special trust fund that is set up to pay claims as they occur. This means the employer assumes all the financial risk for providing healthcare benefits to its employees. In other words, they pay out-of-pocket for workers’ compensation claims instead of paying a fixed premium to an insurance carrier.
To find out if your employer is self-insured or fully-insured, ask your employee benefits administrator.
Having an experienced Gainesville workers’ compensation attorney in your corner is critical to handling any resistance that may come from your employer, whether they are self-insured or fully-insured.
Know the Employer’s Internal Policies
Each employer has internal policies about what employees should do after a workplace injury or accident. Request a copy of the rules when you join the company, and take time to familiarize yourself with the policies. Keep the rules handy and make sure you get an updated copy each year.
It’s important to make a note of anything that’s counter-intuitive or unusual. Ambiguous policies can create problems for recently-injured employees – because in their rush to get help, they may inadvertently break those unclear rules.
If you’re injured on the job, it’s important to reference your employer’s accident and injury reporting policies as soon as possible.
Follow Safety Procedures
No matter how low-risk your occupation, you must follow workplace safety rules. While workers’ compensation is typically a no-fault system, if you are injured in a workplace accident because you failed to follow workplace safety rules, your workers’ compensation claim could be challenged.
All safety rules should be followed at all times, no matter how simple they seem. Pay particular attention to rules regarding how to lift heavy items and how to operate dangerous machinery. If there are safety tips and workshops available, be sure to take advantage of all opportunities to get on-the-job safety training.
Report Safety Violations
If you’re working at a job and witness a safety violation, report these violations in writing. This documentation can serve as evidence if you’re injured on the job because an employer failed to maintain equipment and jeopardized the safety of workers. Be sure to present all evidence to your Gainesville accident lawyer.
Taking Action After a Workplace Injury
Being injured on the job should not be taken lightly. Depending on the line of work, injuries can be serious, debilitating, and in some cases, deadly. If you find yourself injured while on the job, follow these tips to ensure a smooth recovery:
- Get medical attention immediately. If you’re injured on the job, the first thing you should do is seek first aid. Even if you feel fine and suspect the injury is minor, get checked by a physician. Some injuries, like whiplash, do not appear to be serious immediately because symptoms are delayed by days or weeks. Some injuries are internal and do not present symptoms at all. For example, if you inhaled fumes during a chemical spill, you might not immediately notice the damage to your lungs. Always seek medical attention immediately.
- Report the injury or accident to your supervisor. It’s important to report your workplace injury to your employer as soon as possible. Waiting for more than 30 days to report a workplace injury to your employer could cause you to lose out on any workers’ compensation claim you might be entitled to.
If you have developed a disease or disorder due to workplace conditions, you must report this to your employer within ninety days of discovering the disease or disorder is work-related. You can work with your Gainesville workers’ comp attorney to make sure you properly notify your employer in writing and within the right timeframe.
- Talk to witnesses. If there were people who witnessed your workplace accident, get written statements from them describing the accident in detail. If you want to file a workers’ compensation claim on your own or with the help of a Gainesville workers’ comp lawyer, you need to prove the injury took place while you were performing your job duties. Written statements from witnesses can help you prove your case.
- File a workers’ compensation claim. If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, don’t delay in filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you find the task daunting, or if you need help understanding the forms, rules or workers’ compensation process, reach out to a Gainesville workers’ compensation attorney.
Workers’ Compensation: Basic Facts
If you’re filing a workers’ compensation claim, there are some basic facts you should be aware of:
- You may not get the doctor you choose. Your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance carrier may choose your doctor.
- Workers’ compensation insurance will pay part of the wages you lost due to the injury, but that’s only for the time your doctor says you must be away from work.
- You must get approval from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier before beginning any treatment – even if that treatment was suggested by your doctor.
- It’s important to keep all appointments and carefully follow any treatment plan.
- If you are filling a prescription, let the pharmacist know it is for a workers’ compensation claim.
Suffering a workplace injury can be tough physically, mentally, emotionally and financially, and that’s why the Gainesville workers’ compensation attorneys at Avera & Smith are committed to working tirelessly to help you get a fair settlement. Contact Avera & Smith today.