Whether you work at a construction site, in an office, hospital or other location, you encounter safety hazards every day. You can take precautions to reduce the chance you could get injured at work, but you cannot completely prevent an accident from occurring.
You can, however, learn how to react to a workplace accident. Developing a plan today can help you protect your workers’ compensation claim in the future. It’s critical to take appropriate steps after you suffer a job-related injury. Your employer’s insurer may not provide benefits if you do not follow your state’s workers’ compensation procedures.
Following these steps can help you build a strong claim:
- See a doctor as soon as possible. Most states require injured workers to see a doctor approved by their company’s insurer. If you need immediate care, you should get help at the nearest emergency room. When you are talking to your doctor about the accident, it is important to tell the physician that you were hurt at work.
- Tell your supervisor or employer about your accident. Before you can file a workers’ compensation claim, you need to notify your employer. Provide a written notification, and save a copy for your files. You may need to refer to this information later.
- Write down as much as you can about the accident. Try to document this information when your memory is vivid. Memories fade as time passes. Also, ask your coworkers to provide their eyewitness accounts. Having a detailed record of the incident can strengthen your claim.
- File the appropriate claim form with the appropriate agency. In Virginia, injured workers need to send to their claim for benefits form to Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. In North Carolina, workers begin the filing process by sending forms to the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
Many injured workers delay reporting their injuries because they are worried that they will be fired or demoted for filing a claim. It is illegal to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you are worried that your job may be at risk, you should consider talking to an attorney about your rights.