You spend your adolescence and young adult life honing skills to develop your career path but your life can change in an instant if you are injured at work. Work injuries can vary greatly in severity and complexity, but understanding the steps to appropriately manage your injury and attain medical help leaves little room for interpretation.
If you are injured in the workplace, consider these four important facts:
1. Immediate Steps You Should Take After a Work Injury
If you sustain an injury at work that is not life threatening and that does not require immediate care, report it to your supervisor. Many larger companies and organizations have Human Resource (HR) Departments, and you may be sent directly there or contacted by a member of the HR team. They will take down the specifics of your workplace injury, including: date, time, a description of what happened, the type of injury sustained, and if there are any witnesses. You are not required to give a recorded statement. If the injury is life threatening or needs immediate care, get medical attention first, then file a report with your supervisor or the HR department. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, reporting the injury immediately may be the most important step you take.
2. Get Medical Attention from Your Family Doctor After a Work Injury
Following an injury at work, it is important for your personal recovery and wellbeing to receive prompt medical attention. Choosing where to get your medical attention is important. Start with an emergency room if that is required. Otherwise, it is always best to turn to your family doctor, and if you cannot get in soon enough, try to schedule an appointment with another doctor in the same clinic.
There are certain clinics that some larger employers tend to push; try to avoid those clinics, if you can. In some cases, employer supported clinics exist solely to support workplace injury, and they may shy away from costly diagnostic tests, CT Scans or MRI’s. You do not have to get treated in one of these clinics, instead, opt to see your family doctor. Your family doctor knows you and your medical history and that can be a reassuring point of guidance as you try to recover from your injuries. Also, let your family doctor make any required referrals. If you do not have a family doctor, ask a friend or relative for a recommendation, and become an established patient of that doctor.
3. Workers’ Compensation Typically Only Covers Out Of Pocket Losses
If you are injured on the job, your only claim against your employer is under workers’ compensation. The benefits are typically limited, and tend to track financial or out of pocket losses.
4. Third Party Negligence Can Cover Your Pain and Suffering
If you were injured at work due to the negligence of a third party, you are entitled to make a claim against that third party and collect workers’ compensation benefits at the same time. If you are successful in your claim against the third party, the workers compensation insurer is reimbursed to some extent, so there is no double recovery in the end.
Examples of third party recovery include:
- Car accidents if you are driving for work and are injured by a negligent driver.
- Slip, trip and falls, if they occur on a premises owned by someone other than your employer.
- Accidents caused by delivery services or outside contractors who happen to be on your employer’s premises.
- Accidents caused by machinery sold or maintained by an outside contractor.
- Multi-employer work sites, such as construction sites, where you are injured due to the negligence of someone not employed by your employer.
The third party cases, unlike workers’ compensation matters, allow recovery of non-economic damages, the biggest one being pain and suffering. If you have a work injury, you should always consider the possibility that there may be a third party claim as well.
We hope the elements discussed in this article help as you discover more about your work injury rights. Learn more with this recent article: How A Personal Injury Case Evaluation Can Help You If You’ve Been Injured at Work
If you have been injured at work and would like to discuss third party claim possibilities, please contact us for a free case evaluation.
At Murphy & Prachthauser we practice personal injury law the way it should be practiced – motivated and equipped to do our best for you. We take pride in being good lawyers who help people.