If you're hurt at work, you have little time to take action. Don't try and fight through the pain. You need to forget all those stories about being fired for reporting or injury. It's illegal to fire you for having an injury at work.
Your first course of action is to see a doctor.
Doctors must be consulted. Even if your employer is trying to convince you not to see a doctor, you need to see one. Serious injuries require the assistance of a doctor. If you haven't suffered from an injury that requires an emergency room visit, you should:
- Ask your employer for a list of approved doctors
In most states, you'll be given a long list of doctors that are within the company's workers' compensation list.
"After an accident you may end up in the emergency room and within a few hours after you are injured you have accumulated thousands of dollars in medical bills," states The Law Office of Kevin P. Justen.
But if you wait to seek injuries because of potentially high medical bills, you might cause more harm to your health and may harm any claim you have against your employer, too.
Your next steps will be the most important. These are the steps that most employers won't inform you about.
1. Report the Incident to the Employer
Your employer has workers' compensation insurance, or they should have obtained it. This insurance will be required in most state. The NFIB has a nice list of all state requirements for workers' compensation.
Unless you're rushed to the hospital, you should report the accident immediately.
Any delaying in the reporting will impact your claim. Your employer can also deny your claim, and if this happens, you'll be left paying for you medical bills.
Making a report cannot wait.
If an employer asks you to wait to make a claim, demand that the claim be made immediately.
2. Keep All Documentation
When you consult with a lawyer, which you will have to do at some point, you'll need to make sure that you establish a paper trail. You want to keep all documents that pertain to:
- Doctor visits
- Time away from work
- Doctor bills
- Medical bills
- Lost earnings
Your paper trail provides proof of your injuries as well as the costs associated with your injuries.
3. Follow the Treatment Plan Religiously
You're required to follow the course of treatment that your doctor recommends. You must follow the recommendations and treatment instructions precisely. Failure to follow these directions may result in you losing your right to receive benefits.
See, the doctor knows better than you how to treat your injury.
Failure to follow the doctor's directions might lead to further injuries. This is where things started to get complicated. You do have a right to seek a second opinion, but don't stop treatment unless advised to by a medical professional.
You'll need to notify your employer that you want to seek a second opinion.
But remember that you're limited to the amount of times that you can switch doctors.