The five steps to take after a workplace accident
If you’re involved in a workplace accident, here are the five steps you need to take.
Being involved in a workplace accident can be a frightening experience. Besides being concerned about your health, you might also be worried about your ability to work in the future, and you may even need to take legal action following the incident.
If you or someone you know has been injured while at work, follow these five steps to deal with the matter in a safe and responsible way.
1) Seek medical help
Before you do anything else following a workplace incident, you need to prioritize your health.
If your situation is life-threatening, you should call 911 immediately to seek help from emergency personnel; if your injury is not life-threatening, you should get to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.
It is very important to get a diagnosis from a doctor; even for injuries you may not think are that bad, such as a wrist or hand injury. You can find out how to tell if your wrist is broken or sprained, but only a doctor will be able to confirm any injuries.
2) Document everything
Throughout the process following the incident, you should do your best to document the events that occur from the moment that the accident happened. Include these notes and documents to help support your case:
- A description of the event, as well as any safety concerns you had when it happened.
- Call records when you sought out treatment.
- A note from your physician describing your injuries in detail.
- Your own description of your symptoms and how they have caused you disability.
- A record of your doctor’s appointments.
- Hospital bills.
- A copy of the written statement you sent to your employer to notify them of the event.
- A description from any witnesses.
While you’re documenting, it’s crucial that you’re organized and professional about your notes. Use a note-taking app to take notes and upload documents to a single cloud-based system.
Having easy access to all of these documents will make it easy for you to present them to your lawyer and employer if you need to.
Note: Depending on the type of incident that has occurred, you may have to follow different documentation processes.
A vehicular accident for example, may require you to obtain an estimate for repair. An employer can use a collision estimating software system to identify how much it will cost them to repair or replace the vehicle.
Both the employer and the employee should take note of these details in order to protect themselves in the event of a worker’s comp case.
3) Notify your employer
As soon as you’ve addressed your injuries and your physician has determined you are in a stable position to leave medical care, you should contact your employer right away.
You will need to explain the incident in writing within 30 days in order to sustain your worker’s compensation benefits. In cases of occupational illness, such as farmer’s lung or asthma due to toxic inhalation, they must be reported within two years after the employee was made aware of the diagnosis.
4) File a claim
When you’re injured on the job, you have the option to file a worker’s compensation case to help cover your medical bills and lost wages due to your disability. You can file a worker’s comp case independently by filing Form C-3 at your local Worker’s Compensation Board.
These cases are notoriously challenging due to the amount of documentation and details necessary to settle a case, so you may want to have a little extra help on your side.
A worker’s comp lawyer can help you identify any worker’s comp violations, unsafe practices, and evidence to support your claim and get you back on your feet as soon as possible.
5) Get follow up care
In order to keep yourself in good health following the incident, you should make it a point to see your doctor regularly to ensure injuries have not progressed. Depending on the status of your case, follow up visits related to the injury may even be covered by your employer.