In 2019, there were 5,333 fatal work-related injuries in the United States. This represented a 2% increase from the previous year. Besides the fatalities, minor injuries are also relatively common in industries, warehouses, and other workplaces. Whatever the extent of your injuries, the steps you take after suffering the damage are crucial in protecting your rights and getting the compensation you deserve.
Below is a rundown of some of the key things you need to do while recovering from the injuries.
Many employees fail to report minor injuries to avoid looking weak and unfit for the job. This is particularly a problem among newer employees and in industries where with high employee turnover. Don’t let the fear of getting replaced force you into going back to work without reporting your injuries, however minor they may be.
You should know that failure to report injuries can give your employer leeway to avoid paying the compensation you rightfully deserve. This happens a lot where a seemingly minor injury escalates to a severe medical issue. So, collect the medical reports from your physician and make that report to your HR.
Work-related injuries should be reported as soon as possible. Different states have different timelines. For instance, the state of Iowa requires employees to make the report within 90-days of the injury. Meanwhile, states like Maryland and Colorado have much shorter time frames of just 10 and 4 days, respectively.
You should know that the deadlines for occupational illnesses are different. You should report the condition as soon as it’s diagnosed.
In your first and subsequent medical appointments, make sure the physician knows that the injury happened at work. This information must appear in the doctor’s notes since many employers and insurance companies use medical reports to refute claims.
Records can make or break your case. Having more records strengthens your claim. Therefore, collect as much evidence as you can. This can start from the scene of the accident to the medical reports documenting your recovery.
Take pictures where you can and make copies of all the crucial documents. If there were witnesses when the accident occurred, get in touch with them and let them know the importance of their statements in your case.
There have been reports that employer-selected doctors do not perform comprehensive tests to downplay the seriousness of injuries. To counter such issues, you need to be extra keen when visiting a physician chosen by your employer or the insurance provider. Make sure nothing is overlooked.
You have the right to see a doctor of your choice if you are not comfortable with these physicians.
It’s crucial to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer before filing a claim. The attorneys at Adamson & Cleveland recommend letting your lawyer go through the report to ensure everything is in order. Why is this important? Well, an inconsistent report may deny you the benefits you are clearly entitled to. A workers compensation attorney smoothens the report and ensures all the evidence is captured correctly.
These attorneys can also do the heavy lifting on your behalf. This is particularly useful to individuals who are incapacitated due to the injuries. The lawyer will go through the hectic work of compiling the evidence and filing the claim on your behalf.
Here are a few tips on how to choose the right worker’s compensation attorney.
No one can represent you better than a professional who understands the ins and outs of workers’ compensation law. And, don’t just hire an attorney with experience in the law but find someone with years of practice in your area. That’s because the regulations tend to vary from state to state, so having a lawyer that knows the rules in your specific region is a huge advantage.
Another benefit of hiring a local attorney is they can harness their local networks to speed up your claim.
Get an attorney that understands your needs and is willing to go the extra mile to get you the compensation you need. They should be available to address any concerns you may have and give you an overview of what the process entails and the kind of outcomes you should expect.
Finally, do a background check on the lawyer and his/her firm to see what previous clients have to say about their services. Leverage online resources and ask the attorney to provide a few names of their previous clients.
It’s very easy for employers and insurance providers to get away with negligence that puts employees at risk. Use the above guide to protect your rights and improve the safety of your workplace.