Injuries at the workplace occur every day, even when employees are following all of the safety regulations and using proper safety gear. In some cases, the injury is so severe that it requires medical attention to treat the injury effectively. The expenses for this medical treatment can really start to add up, even if it is just a few trips to the doctor.
The good news is that if you were hurt on the job through no fault of your own, your employer is likely responsible to cover all of your expenses. However, it is up to you to follow proper protocol to make sure you receive the benefits you deserve. Here is some advice on what you should do if you have been injured at work.
The first thing that you need to do if you are injured at work is to notify your immediate supervisor or the manager on duty. This is required by the law, and failure to do so could result in your employer refusing to pay your medical costs. You should report even small injuries to your employer, even if you do not plan to seek out medical attention. This will protect you if this small injury turns into a serious complication a few days, weeks, or months later.
Seek Medical Attention
If your injury is life threatening or severe, you should seek medical attention at the nearest hospital. In an emergency you are not required to seek out a specific doctor or medical facility. However, if your injury is not so severe that you need immediate attention, you must make an appointment with a doctor within your employer’s worker’s compensation network. Your employer is required by law to post the list of appropriate doctors at the workplace for all employees to see. Some states forgo the requirement to only go to doctors approved by your employer, but you need to check with your state’s worker’s compensation office before making that decision. Be sure to tell the hospital or doctor that you sustained your injuries at work, and that you will be filing a worker’s compensation claim. This will help them bill the right place.
Stay in Communication with Employer
You are also required to stay in constant communication with your employer about your ongoing treatment. It is not the employer’s responsibility to seek you out, or to know what the status of your injury is. If you need to be off work due to your injury, or to go to a medical appointment, it is your responsibility to request this time off with your employer. Otherwise, you could be in jeopardy of losing your job.
From the start of your injury, it is important that you document everything, and keep all your paperwork in one file. Keep track of everything related to your case, such as when you contacted your employer, dates of doctor appointments, and any out-of-pocket expenses you incur due to your injury. This will help you if your employer tries to dispute portions of your worker’s compensation claim.
Although it is not a requirement, you may want to considering hiring a lawyer or seeking out legal advice to help you with your worker’s compensation plan. There’s plenty of information available about what types of cases you may encounter on Michael Abelson’s page, as an example of a lawyer who deals with personal injury cases. A lawyer will understand the legal system and help you protect your rights under the law. This is especially helpful if you are having trouble with your employer refusing to cover all of your out-of-pocket and medical expenses.