Did you fall victim to a work accident? This may be a very confusing and distressful time for you, as there is the worry about the things associated with the accident, especially when it comes to finding and collecting reliable information.
It’s important to know what you should do if you got into an accident at work, so you don’t end up feeling confused, which can have you lose the compensation you are owed.
What to Do After a Work Accident
Work accidents might end up being a huge blow to you and your family. It may leave you in pain, with expensive bills, and unable to work, losing your source of income. That is why you need to follow the proper steps after an injury to help handle the financial burden.
Unfortunately, employers and insurance companies would search for loopholes or possible reasons why they can deny your claims, minimizing or denying payment for your worker’ compensation benefits. This is why it’s crucial to follow established procedures to get the benefits you are entitled to if you were injured while working.
Follow these steps and tips:
1. Focus on the Injury
This is the most important thing to do right after you were injured while working. Immediately after the accident, you need to be treated by the company’s first-aider. All workplaces are legally obligated to have a designated first aider and first aid kit. Right after the accident, if possible, find the first aider or have a colleague summon him to you.
If you doubt the extensiveness of your injuries, do NOT move. Your injuries might look minor at first, but it may end up being a lifelong condition if not properly treated. This is why you need to get a full assessment of your injuries from a qualified medical practitioner.
Once you have been tended to by a first aider, check if you need to go to the hospital, ensuring that a colleague goes with you. Concentrate on your health first, before the Workers compensation Law claims you may have due to the injury.
2. Report the Work Accident
If ever you were working on your own during the work accident, make sure your colleagues were made aware of it, which is important if you make a compensation claim or investigation. This will make sure employers or insurers can’t dispute the occurrence of the work accident. Make sure there is bulletproof evidence that the work accident occurred so no one can deny it occurred.
Besides reporting the accident to colleagues, be sure to report it to your manager, following your organization’s protocols when reporting a work accident. If you suffered a serious accident, your employers are legally obliged to report this to the Health and Safety Executive. It may be a breach of staff procedures when you don’t report your work accident properly, so you need to report it or the near-miss as soon as you can.
3. Record the Accident
Afterward, record the accident in the accident book, which every organization needs to have. Never let accidents go unreported, since employers may opt to NOT record it to reach performance targets. If your employer refuses to do so, write to your employer so there will be a paper or email trail of you wanting to report the accident.
If they still refuse to do so, there is sufficient evidence to resign and claim for constructive dismissal. Be sure that you seek legal advice before doing so!
4. Take Evidence
This is crucial for when you make a compensation claim due to the injuries suffered from the work accident, as well as to defend yourself from false accusations dishonorable employers may make.
After the work accident, take photos and videos of the location of the accident. This ensures no one can “fix” the accident to hamper claims you plan to make. Record everything you can and remember that there is no such thing as too much evidence!
5. Ask for Help
Depending on the injuries suffered, you may end up being off work for a period following the work accident. It’s during these post-accident times that employers would make changes to the work equipment and systems, which would improve safety, and sometimes, to ‘cover-up’ the accident.
While you are away from work, do have a trusted co-worker noting these changes and staying updated. They can also let you know if employers will carry out accident investigations while you’re off work.
6. Record Your Symptoms, Expenses, and Losses
It’s also crucial to take note of all your symptoms, keeping that list updated. Whether you keep it on your phone, computer, or on paper, whether it’s written or on video, be sure to be as detailed as possible, since doctors and nurses sometimes don’t keep a full record of it.
Unfortunately, doctors would focus on the most serious injury or complication, with minor injuries being forgotten. These minor injuries can actually end up being a long-term and debilitating condition, which can’t be compensated for if it wasn’t properly recorded.
Furthermore, personal injury claims may take years to resolve, especially when the injuries are complex and/or long-lasting. Keeping a diary of your symptoms can help explain the impact of the work accident to medical experts.
Also, keep a record of all your expenses and losses to ensure you are compensated properly. You need to recover lost pay and future losses from potential bonuses and/or promotions, along with compensation from medical expenses, increased heating bills due to your symptoms, along time lost from missing holidays due to the accident.
7. Submit a Grievance and Subject Access Request
If you suffered a work injury from defective equipment or carrying too much weight, or from slippery work surfaces, you need to complain to your employers with a grievance. You may even want to submit a subject access request, as this may be able to assist future compensation claims.
Wrapping It Up
Employers worldwide are required to make sure their employees work in a safe and healthy environment. Unfortunately, employers sometimes fail to fulfill this duty, and it results in employees suffering from injuries. At times, employees may be injured even when all efforts are put into making workplaces safe.
Whatever the reason behind the work accident, it’s important to know the Compensation Law to be prepared and know what you need when filing a report. Remember, the laws vary from state to state, which is why informative articles like these will help you out.
Do be aware of your rights as an employee and what to follow after suffering from a work accident. Start from here and keep this information in mind, but hopefully, you’ll be able to work safely throughout your employment!
Interesting Related Article: “Claims Settlement After an Accident“