Accidents happen everywhere. You might be at home, in a car, walking down the street — or at work. You might make different choices about next steps depending on where you are. It’s important to realize that at work, you’re usually under someone else’s direct supervision. That means that your overlords have certain liabilities. They need to make sure you’re safe. When they fail in that task, there could be legal ramifications.
What you do first after a workplace accident depends on its severity. If you are seriously injured, call an ambulance immediately and seek medical attention. If not seriously injured, see your supervisor to file a report. Later, your boss should fill out workers comp paperwork to ensure your medical bills are paid should there be any. Even if the injury is minor, don’t be surprised if your employers urge you to seek medical attention right away. Do what they say.
When receiving medical attention, you’ll want to make sure the healthcare provider is aware that this was a workplace injury. It should be recorded everywhere you go. One of the reasons that claims are routinely denied is plaintiffs’ inability to prove they were at work when an injury occurred. Spread the news!
When speaking to your employer, be honest about the circumstances leading to the accident. Lying can lead to delays or denial of workers compensation.
Later, you will want to decide whether or not to retain the services of a workers’ compensation attorney. If your employer refused to offer workers compensation or filled out paperwork improperly, then this is a given. A lawyer can place pressure on your bosses to do the right thing. They can also help fill out those forms, communicate directly with insurance companies, and make sure that you get the right treatment for the injuries sustained. Lawyers are necessary if your injury was serious, i.e. life threatening, or long-term. Think chronic back or neck pain after a fall.
If you are the employer and an employee was injured at work, you need to call 911 or send them to a nearby urgent care facility immediately — even if the injury appears superficial. After a severe workplace injury, call OSHA at 1-800-321-6742. You can also make a report online. Be sure to review OHSA and workers compensation guidelines to reduce the chance of mistakes — because they can result in costly lawsuits.
After an accident, be sure to review what happened with employees. Counsel the responsible parties, if any. Make sure employees know what to do in an emergency. Don’t punish anyone for panicking, but make sure they have the information they need to act accordingly. Don’t have plans in place for emergencies? Draft them now!
This website and video have information on employment law and how to find an attorney in your area. Don’t delay when involved in a serious work-related accident. Workers compensation might not be enough to cover long-term costs. You might also try finding a personal injury lawyer.