It’s important to know the basic steps to take if you’ve been hurt on the job.
Every state has its own set of workers’ compensation laws. However, most share commonalities when it comes to how and when you should file a workers’ compensation claim against your employer’s insurance.
You can take action promptly after being hurt at work by knowing what steps to follow when filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Report the Injury to Your Employer
The first step you must take after being hurt at work involves reporting the injury or accident to your employer. If you do not report the incident, you cannot file a workers’ comp claim in many states, even if you seek medical treatment for the injury. By law, the employer must be made aware of the accident and the resulting injury.
Seek Medical Treatment within the Allotted Time Frame
Most workers’ comp laws prescribe a certain amount of time by which injured workers must seek medical treatment. In some states, this time frame is relatively short and can be as brief as 72 hours. In other states, workers have up to 30 days to report the injury and to seek medical care for it.
If you do not act within your state’s finite window of opportunity for seeking medical care, you lose your chance to pursue a workers’ comp claim for the injury and accident. Your employer typically will tell you how soon you must have the injury diagnosed and treated. Ideally, you should seek medical care the same day that you are injured on the job.
Hire a Lawyer
Depending on the severity and circumstances of your on-the-job accident and injury, you may want to hire an experienced workers compensation lawyer to represent you during the case. An attorney who specializes in this area of law can act as your intermediary between you and your employer’s insurer. You avoid having to read up on and understand the state’s workers’ comp law as it pertains to your situation.
You especially may benefit from hiring a lawyer if you plan on seeking substantial compensation for your injury. Your employer will have one—if not several—attorneys working for it in court. You are entitled to the same legal counsel to ensure your side of the case is heard and argued fairly.
Even if you do not plan on pursuing a significant amount of damages in court, you can still benefit by having a workers’ compensation lawyer on your side during your recovery from the on-the-job injury. You may feel pressured to return to work or to downplay the circumstances of your accident. You may even fear repercussions like being fired for making a claim against your employer’s insurance. Your attorney can make sure that you are not subject to unfair treatment or subjected to undue firing because of your on-the-job accident.