No one plans on suffering a workplace injury. Yet, knowing what to do when an unexpected accident happens on the job is a must. Whether it's a fractured limb, a back injury while lifting, a fall from a ladder or any other injury, the following five steps can help you recover more quickly while protecting your rights to valuable workers compensation benefits for lost wages, permanent injury awards and medical benefits.
1. Assess the Injury
The seconds and minutes following a workplace accident can be both scary and confusing. You may have fellow employees rushing to help you, and it is often difficult to determine the extent of your injuries. This isn't the time to brush off pain and proclaim that you're "just fine." Many falls, cuts, burns, and sprains that happen on the job can become serious injuries if they aren't treated immediately. Take the time to assess your workplace injury and your symptoms. If there is any question of the severity of the injury, a diagnosis is best left to a doctor or hospital emergency room.
Fact: The most common workplace injuries are sprains, strains, tears and fractures and the most common sources of injury are overexertion in lifting and falls on the job.
2. Tell Your Employer
If your employer wasn't aware of your injury at the time that it happened, you will need to tell them as soon as possible. This will alert them to your claim so they can fill out the required paperwork, including an Accident Report, which is then sent to the New York State Workers Compensation Board.
Tip: It's important to note that an employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against you for filing a claim or seeking compensation for a workplace injury.
3. Seek Medical Treatment
If you need medical help, you have the right to go to an emergency room or doctor of your choice, as long as they accept workers' compensation patients. It's important to tell them that you have been injured on the job so they fill out the proper medical forms to document your injury and send them to the New York State Workers Compensation Board.
Tip: It's essential that you follow your doctor's instructions. Ask your doctor whether you need to stay out of work for any period of time to help healing, or if you can return to work shortly. If you need to stay out of work, ask him for a note saying how long you will be disabled from working.
4. Get Better
The sooner you are able to return to work after an injury, the more likely you will regain your pre-injury salary. This means following your doctor's instructions on return-to-work and returning only after your injuries have healed. By returning too soon, you will risk reinjuring yourself and lengthening the time you cannot work.
Tip: In addition to following your doctor's orders, it is a good idea to stay in touch with your supervisor or employer (NOT the insurance company) so that they know when you might be able to return to work. Although the employer may not be required to hold your job open for you, you will have a better shot of getting your original job back if the employer knows when you might be able to return to work.
5. Obtain Skilled Legal Representation
While not every workplace injury case requires an attorney, it is often necessary in helping to recover the maximum benefits. The workers compensation system is adversarial (you will have an insurance company fighting, or trying to minimize, your claim. Your case will require court appearances before a Judge for serious injuries. Work-related injuries often come with expensive medical bills and long recovery times. A skilled NY work injury attorney, such as Turley, Redmond Rosasco and Rosasco, who understands the claims process, can file your claim with the New York State Workers Compensation Board to recover lost wages, permanent cash awards, and medical benefits for you.
Tip: Over 80% of all workers compensation claimants with either lost time from work or permanent injuries decide to hire a NY work injury attorney to help them maximize their cash awards. We would be glad to help you. Call us today Toll Free at 1-800-671-4927 for a Free Consultation.