What to Do When You’re Injured at Work

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 2.9 million workers suffered nonfatal workplace illness and injuries. And the actions that you take when you’re injured will dictate the outcome of your incident.

When you’re injured at work, the key most important thing to do is to notify a supervisor. You’ll want the entire report to be in writing, and depending on the state, the employer may be required to file all reports in writing.

Employees should protect themselves by putting everything in writing.

Statutes of limitations do exist, and this can be 30 days as it is in Alaska or two years as is law in Alabama. The best course of action is to alert your employer of an injury immediately. Once this is done, unless the injury is severe, you’ll want to seek medical treatment.

Seek Medical Treatment

Seek medical treatment for your injury or illness. Non-federal employees will need to adhere to state laws, and you may have the right to see your own doctor. The main issue with seeing your own doctor is that you’ll need to make the request, in writing, before the injury occurs.

Typically, you’ll alert your employer and they’ll:

  • Refer you to a doctor
  • Require you to see the doctor for 30 days

After the 30-day period, you’ll be able to see your own physician.

It’s important to seek medical treatment as quickly as possible. Workers’ compensation may require you to obtain medicine or tests through a network.

File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Workers’ compensation is there to protect you and the employer in the event that an injury occurs. Claims are filed much like an auto claim, and you’ll need to fill out a workers’ compensation form.

The form will need to be mailed to the nearest Workers’ Compensation Board.

Employers may fill out this form on your behalf, but you’ll want to stay on top of the matter and make sure your claim is received. It’s important that a claim be made before the statute of limitations so that you still maintain your rights to benefits.

In emergency situations, everything is happening so quickly that you may not know what to do. “OSHA advises posting the emergency action plan in a convenient location that’s visually accessible to all employees or giving every employee a copy,” claims Bogdan Martinovich.

Ask employers, well before you’re injured and start working in the workplace, what policies and standards they have for emergency situations. You’ll also want to ask about protocol to follow when you’re injured.

After a claim is filed, you’ll want to keep a log of your injuries and any documentation you receive from the doctor. Make sure that all correspondences are in writing and follow the instructions of your doctor properly.

If you fail to follow your doctor’s instructions, this may lead to further injuries or illness that will not be covered.

Attend hearings on your case, see the doctor and go back to work when you’re medically cleared. You may also need to attend what’s known as an Independent Medical Examination.