No one likes to be injured or involved in an accident, however, it can’t always be avoided. Unfortunately, these things happen and can cause a fair amount of stress, pain, anxiety, and more. The fact that you were injured at work can make the whole situation even more frustrating.
However, there are ways you can streamline the post-injury process and ease the majority of your worries. In this article, you will find exactly these steps, everything you need to do if you get injured at work. If you have been injured at work, read on to find out what to do next.
Workplace Injury Statistics
Workplaces are one of the most common places where injuries occur. Only the roads provide more injuries per year to the population of the US. The most common injuries at work are slips and falls, struck by objects, lacerations, and muscle injuries – often linked with manual handling.
In the US, there are around 7 million workplace injuries per year; an astonishing number. This means there are roughly 13,000 incidents per day! 200,000 of these yearly accidents take place in Texas, making it one of the top spots for workplace injuries. Of these cases, over 30% required medical treatment and time off work. That’s 70,000 people needing time off work due to injury in Texas alone.
These stats show that there is a serious problem with workplace incidents, so, if you are suffering, you are not alone! Let’s take a look at what each of these 70,000 people should do following an incident at work.
1. Report the Incident immediately
The first thing you should do is report the incident to your superiors and your colleagues. Whether you are seriously injured or not, report the incident, make everyone aware, and try and make the area safe – especially if there’s a risk of the situation repeating itself. If you witness an incident involving someone else, you should also take this step. Minimizing the risk of further injury and ensuring everyone’s safety should be an immediate priority.
2. Make Sure Everything is Recorded
After this, you need to make sure everything that has been reported has also been recorded. As one of the injury lawyers at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm explains, “failure to follow company procedures surrounding incident and injury reporting can reduce the chances of receiving a settlement.” Make sure that every procedure is followed properly and that everything has been recorded. If it hasn’t been recorded, you may struggle with proving that your injury took place at work, leading to legal issues later down the line.
3. Get Medical Treatment
Next, seek medical attention. If your injuries are severe, you or someone at your workplace will likely have called the emergency services. If they are less severe, you should still check yourself into the hospital for a thorough checkup right away. If you delay, you may again have issues proving that your injuries came from work.
When visiting the hospital, make sure that accurate records are being kept. The doctors must compile their notes mentioning the fact that your injury occurred at work – this will form part of your evidence later. Remember, even if you don’t feel particularly hurt, you should still be checked out by a doctor.
4. Report Injuries to Your Employer
In different areas, you must report your injuries to your employer within different timeframes. In Texas, for example, you must tell your employer in writing within 30 days of you having an accident or discovering an injury. Failure to do so can result in the loss of any benefits due. This, then, is a crucial step to follow. Make sure you know the rules in your local area and send a letter in right away.
5. Choose an Attorney
The next stage is a crucial one. It’s time to start meeting with attorneys and finding out who can help you move your case forwards. Luckily, most law firms will offer you the chance to sit down with them with no obligation to work together. This initial meeting will simply be a chance for you to meet the team, see how they work, and decide whether they are the right lawyers for you. On the other side, the lawyers will do their best to explain to you how much settlement they think they can earn and why.
Make sure the attorneys you choose are specialized in workplace injuries, as the laws and benefits surrounding this type of case can be quite complex. Specialist lawyers will have plenty of experience in the field, meaning they are best placed to guide you through this process.
6. Gather Evidence
A few forms of evidence have been mentioned already, but now it’s time to put them all together and start building your case. This will be done by both yourself and your attorneys. You need to get the incident reports from work, your medical paperwork, and your letter reporting the injury to your work.
On top of this, ask colleagues for eyewitness testimony to help build an understanding of how the incident unfolded and determine if anyone was negligent. Finally, make sure you have kept all travel expenses, medical bills, insurance claims, and more. All of these financial statements can form part of your settlement claim.
7. File a Claim
At this point, your attorneys will file a claim with your employer, requesting settlement and compensation for your injuries. They will provide all the evidence you have collated to the workplace’s law team, detailing exactly why you are due a settlement. They will often negotiate and come to a settlement value with your legal team, at which point you can choose to accept or refuse the settlement. If you don’t settle, you will likely have to take the case to court.
Following these steps will help keep you covered while keeping everything moving in the right direction after a workplace injury. All of the mentioned evidence must be kept safe, while all the right workplace procedures are followed. Doing all of this will put you in the best position for a settlement claim.