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6 Must-Knows if You Have Experienced a Workers’ Comp Accident

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You’ve Been Hurt – Now What?

Suffering a workplace accident is not only painful physically, but it can be overwhelming mentally as well. After getting hurt, depending on the severity of the situation, you could find yourself dealing with the fact that you can’t go back to work. If you can’t work, then you aren’t making money. However, workplace accidents are not your responsibility as an employee. It’s up to your employer to ensure that they provide a safe environment and that you have everything necessary to complete your job in the most effective way.

You might think that in your line of work, suffering workplace injuries just isn’t something that happens. However, you don’t have to be working a high-risk job to have an accident. Even people working in office settings, hospitals, and restaurants have the potential of slipping and falling or being harmed by tools and equipment.  The most important thing to understand is what has to be done after you’ve been injured at work.

There are steps that need to be followed, documentation that must be filled out, and people that must be informed about what took place. Even if you haven’t suffered any visible injuries right away, everything that has taken place up to, during, and after the accident should be recorded. There could be problems down the road that were caused by the seemingly harmless event. If you’re employed, or if you’re an employer, you should be aware of what to do after a workplace accident.

1. Get Medical Treatment

Regardless of the type of workplace injuries suffered, the first and most crucial step is getting medical care. Your health and well-being are always going to be the most essential thing to take care of before anything else. Before you can go see a doctor or visit a hospital, you need to let your supervisor know what happened and that you need to get a professional examination. He or she may inform you of a specific doctor or hospital that the company you work for goes through.

When you do get to the doctor’s office or hospital, make sure that you let them know that you were hurt on the job. Workman’s comp coverage requires specific forms of documentation, and the medical professionals that are caring for you will know what must be done to ensure that you have what you need.

Before you leave the office, make sure to ask for a copy of all the reports that your medical doctor filled out for your own records. You may need them later to help you when it comes time to claim your benefits. If they can’t get them to you right away, make sure they have your address on file so they can send them to you. You also have the option of returning later to pick them up if that’s easier.

2. Talk with Your Employer

While most employers are likely going to be aware of workplace accidents as soon as they happen, there are others that are less involved in what’s happening at their business so you may need to find out how to contact them directly so that you can tell them what happened. In the state of New York, the law states that you have 30 days to let your employer know that you have suffered injuries at work.

While you don’t necessarily have to do it in writing, it’s best that you do so that there is some sort of evidence that you can use in your workman’s compensation claim if they decided to fight you on it. Even though the employer isn’t paying out of pocket for workplace accidents, some of them are going to disagree or resist you getting the benefits owed to you.

3. How Workman's Comp Works

If you’ve never had to file a workman’s comp claim, then you might not be fully aware of what it is or how it works. Employers buy workman’s compensation coverage for the specific purpose of covering workplace injuries. Depending on the type of accident, the medical bills that start piling up can get rather expensive, and the workman’s comp insurance covers those, as long as it can be proven that the accident was, in fact, the result of something that happened while you were at work.

Besides just covering medical bills, this type of coverage is also used to pay you for any subsequent days of work that you might have to miss. It isn’t ethical that you miss out on your paycheck after getting hurt doing your job. Losing out on your regular salary would only make your injuries at work complicate your life even more. Almost every employer in Brooklyn, NY and throughout the country have this kind of protection. They don’t want to be forced into bankruptcy because an employee gets hurt on their property. There are a few types of employees that might not be covered including:

  • Domestic workers
  • Agricultural workers
  • Independent contractors

If you fit into any of those job types and you’re unsure whether or not you’re covered, speak with your supervisor or human resources department. They will give you all the information you need on workman’s comp including the steps you need to take after workplace injuries have occurred.

Be aware that just because you were hurt on the job site, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re covered. In most instances, it has to be proven that the accident happened because of something directly related to your job duties.  For example, if a crazed ex-girlfriend or boyfriend chases you down with their car in the parking lot, that’s something that your employer is going to be responsible for, even though it happened on the job site.

4. Filing a Workman's Comp Claim

Whenever you get hurt or sick and you think it’s because of something related to your job, you need to fill out a report and inform your HR department or supervisor. Even if it doesn’t require medical attention, you want it on file that you’re having problems. That way, if you do eventually have to file a claim, you have all the evidence you need to make a good case.

There is an assortment of documents that have to be filled out and various steps that must be followed when filing a workman’s compensation claim, and each of them has different deadlines. Some of them have been mentioned, and this is the basic breakdown of what every employee should do after getting hurt on the job:

  • Visit a doctor or hospital for medical treatment. Do this right away, even if you can’t physically feel or see anything wrong. Sometimes workplace injuries take several days, weeks, or months before they start causing discomfort.
  • Tell your employer or Human Resources department what happened. This has to be done within 30 days of the accident, but ideally, you should do it right away. Put it in writing what happened, how it happened, where it happened, what you were doing prior to the accident, any witnesses, and any witness statements.
  • File your claim with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. You have up to 2 years to file your claim, but as soon as possible is a better time frame to look at. The sooner you get it done, the faster you will get your benefits. You will be required to
  • Get a preliminary medical report from your doctor. Your medical care provider will have to fill out a C-4 form and that will get mailed into the district office as well. Ask your doctor to also send copies of that report to your insurance company and your employer.
  • You should start receiving benefits after 18 days. The only reason you wouldn’t get your benefits after the 18-day period is if there is a dispute on the claim. If that happens, you will get a notification as to what is taking place.
  • Doctor reports on progress will happen every 45 days. After you have started getting your benefits, your doctor will be required to fill out a Doctor’s Progress Report C-4.2 Form. It will inform the New York Workers’ Compensation Board if you are still unable to work or if you’ve been cleared to go back.

5. Hiring an Attorney

All of the steps surrounding a workman’s compensation claim can be extremely confusing, especially if you’ve never had to deal with it before. There are a plethora of lawyers in the Brooklyn, NY area that specialize in these kinds of cases. All you have to do is let them know the details of your situation, and they can take care of the rest. You might have to invest a bit of your money in an attorney, but they can do so much for you including:

  • Keeping your documentation organized
  • Following a schedule and making sure deadlines are met
  • Explaining what’s happening to you in ordinary terms without the legal terminology
  • Representing you in front of the Workers’ Compensation Board
  • Dealing with any issues or denials that you receive

You’re already stressed, hurt, and exhausted from your injuries at work. Letting a professional take care of the paperwork can take a lot off your shoulders so that you can spend your time healing instead of worrying.

6. Going in For Follow-Up Care

Even if you’re feeling better, as mentioned before, you must attend all the follow-up appointments with your doctor. He or she needs to check your workplace injuries and either confirm or rule out other secondary health concerns from your accident. If you don’t go to these appointments, when working with the Worker’s Compensation Board, you’re going to have a much harder time proving your case and you could stop receiving benefits.