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Steps To Take Following An On-The-Job Injury

Steps To Take Following An On-The-Job Injury

The workers' compensation system was established to provide financial compensation and medical assistance to employees who have suffered on-the-job injuries.

What Types of Injuries are Covered by Workers' Compensation?

A bodily injury or an occupational disease that occurred during the course of your employment is usually covered by workers' compensation. An injury must be directly caused by or occurred during the course of your employment. According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 3.1 million work-related injuries occurred in the U.S. in 2010. The majority of on-the-job accidents involved soft tissue injuries, such as sprains or strains, followed by back injuries.

What Steps Should I Take if I Have Been Injured at Work?

There are several initial steps that will help you prevail in your workers' compensation claim:

  • Inform your employer of your injury in a timely manner.
  • Seek medical attention from a workers' compensation-sanctioned medical provider and request copies of medical reports related to your injury.
  • Complete the required claims forms and submit them to your employer, along with work restrictions or time-loss authorizations provided by your doctor.
  • Keep a personal journal or diary, documenting the events concerning your injury, including date, time and co-workers who may have witnessed the incident.
  • Maintain a log of your medical appointments, treatments and healing progress.
  • Attend your scheduled medical appointments and provide periodic updates regarding your injury and treatment to your employer.

During the initial assessment of your claim, the workers' compensation carrier may request an interview with you to obtain information about your injury. You may be asked to participate in an independent medical examination before a determination is made to accept or deny your claim. Independent medical examinations are paid for by the insurer, so the results may not be in your favor. Do not agree to an interview or an independent medical examination without the advice and approval of your attorney.

What Are My Rights if My Claim is Denied?

If your claim has been denied, you have the right to appeal the denial and request a hearing before your state's Workers' Compensation Board. Since the worker's compensation system has become complicated and adversarial in nature, your workers' compensation lawyer can help you file your claim and assist you throughout the process. If your claim is denied, your lawyer will file the necessary appeal and represent you during the hearing. It is important to understand that benefits are retroactive, which means that you may be entitled to a lump sum payment calculated from the date of your injury until the time you receive payment.