If you have a workplace accident, exposure, or injury, your employer's workers' compensation company may be required to pay for your lost time and medical care, with a few exception.
In the event of an accident at work, remember these rules:
1. Notify your employer of all work injuries immediately. Failure to fill out an accident report could jeopardize your claim. Putting the details of the incident in writing and asking for the report to be placed in your personnel file will prevent the employer from denying your reporting.
2. File an Incident or Accident Report with the employer. This form officially puts all parties on notice and must be sent to the workers' compensation company.
3. Obtain medical treatment as soon as possible. All parties will look back to the first medical report after an injury. Make sure to advise the doctor or clinic that you were hurt at work and indicate all body parts injured, even if only minimally. This is especially true when you first visit a hospital, emergency room or non-workers' compensation doctor.
4. Contact the insurance adjuster about receiving benefits. Be proactive with your case. If in doubt about how to handle these discussions, contact an attorney who can apprise you of your case.
5. Discuss in detail medical options with your doctor. Do not be afraid to learn about your medical condition.
6. Keep your employer updated about your disability status and when you are released for work. If you are injured, but able to return to restricted work, you may be owed additional benefits if you do not make 80% of your pre-injury wages. If you don't advise your employer of your restrictions, the insurance company can deny you lost wage benefits.
7. Keep track of attempts to seek employment. If you are no longer working for the employer where you were injured you should look for work elsewhere. It shows you are being proactive and
judges like to see this activity. Keep a journal of dates, jobs you applied to or spoke with, names of people you spoke with and what they said. If you submit online applications keep track of these and make sure to follow up with a phone call or additional e-mail whenever possible.
8. Consult an Experienced Attorney. Many injured employees try to handle the issues surrounding their work injury alone. This will often result in disaster. Call an attorney right away so you can obtain all of the benefits you are entitled.
9. Never settle your case without consulting a lawyer. An attorney can help you determine your future risk and rights and evaluate your case to obtain a fair settlement on your behalf, including many benefits the insurance company will never let you know exist.