What to Do If You Are in an Accident at the Workplace
Workplace accidents can occur at any moment and it’s best to be prepared on how to proceed with filing a workers’ compensation claim. It is important that employees, especially with the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer, seek compensation for lost wages and medical bills incurred while out of work due to an injury. The following steps are a helpful guide on what to do if you or a loved one has been injured on the job.
Step 1: Report your injury
It is crucial that employees report an injury to their employer or supervisor as soon as possible. In many cases, employers and workers’ compensation insurance companies try to deny claims if the injury was not promptly reported. In Florida, you must report your injury to your employer no later than 30 days from the date of the accident or within 30 days of the date your doctor says you are suffering from a work-related injury.
Step 2: Inform the health care provider the injury is work-related
This first time you seek medical care for your workplace injury, it is important to notify your doctor that an injury is related to work. You should also make sure your doctor records this information in your medical notes from the first visit. In many cases, employers and workers’ compensation insurance companies try to deny claims if the first medical note does not include a notation that the injury is a work injury.
If you need emergency treatment for your accident, tell the ER staff that you hurt yourself on the job and be sure to give them the contact information for your employer or your workers' compensation insurance carrier for your employer.
Step 3. Present a written notice to your employer
Most states require that written notice of the injury be provided to your employer or workers' compensation health insurance carrier, including the date of the injury and a short description of the injury. Provide this statement to your workplace as soon as possible after the accident. Make sure to keep a copy of the statement for your records. Your workplace should have the workers' compensation insurance carrier information posted. If you are not familiar with this or your employer won't provide it to you, RTR Law attorneys can help.
Step 4. Keep a diary of all missed days of work, all travel, and all out-of-pocket expenses
Many state laws allow the employee to start receiving weekly wage replacement payments from the workers’ compensation insurance company once the injured employee is out of work for seven days. When the injured employee is out of work for a total of 21 days, the employee must be paid for the first seven days missed. This is the seven-day “waiting period” for wage replacement payments. Also, mileage must be paid for all medically necessary travel over 20 miles round trip, in addition to reimbursement for any necessary out-of-pocket medical expenses paid by the injured worker. RTR Law attorneys can assist you to ensure you receive what benefits are available to you.
Step 5: Contact a workers’ compensation attorney for help
Navigating through the workers’ compensation process can be confusing and stressful. Insurance adjusters are trained to take recorded statements that can be used against you in your claim. Be careful! Our lawyers can help if you would like assistance filing your workers’ compensation claim. We can fill out and file the injury forms, deal with the workers’ compensation insurance company, and make sure you are receiving the treatment you need to recover from your injury and the wages you deserve while out of work. RTR Law attorneys will stay with you through your entire case and we will work hard to make sure you receive the lump sum settlement you deserve at the end of the case. Finally, we do not charge a fee unless we recover benefits for you.
To reiterate, the two most important things a worker needs to do when injured at work are:
- Report the incident to a supervisor immediately - An injured worker has 30 days from the date of the accident to report the injury to his/her employer;
- Get medical treatment - Whether an employer sends the injured worker to get medical treatment or not, the best way to ensure an injured worker's case gets started in the right direction is to get medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident.
For more information about how to report an injury that occurred at your workplace, visit Florida's Division of Workers' Compensation.
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