What Should I Do Immediately Following a Workplace Injury?
Regardless of safety measures, accidents in the workplace happen all the time. No one wants to be hurt at work, especially if the injury is serious enough to need medical attention or take you out of work. You may not know what to do. How will you be paid if you have to miss work? Who should pay the medical bills for your treatment?
A work injury can happen to anyone, so you should know what to do in order to protect yourself and your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
Call 9-1-1 or Seek Medical Attention.
First, examine your injury. Depending on the severity, you or another person may need to call 9-1-1 so that emergency medical responders can immediately treat your injuries and transport you to the hospital. If you’re able to seek medical treatment yourself, do so immediately. Even if you believe you were not seriously injured, it is best to see a doctor after any sort of workplace injury and let the doctor decide what treatment you need, if any
Your employer may tell you that you have to see a doctor that they choose. This is true for your very first appointment only. After this initial visit, you can see whoever you want to!
Document Your Injuries and Any Time Off Work
If possible, take photos of your injury as soon as possible after the accident. The doctor should do a full exam and make notes about the severity of your injury and how it happened. Be sure to tell them that it happened at work. If you don’t, it may not be in the doctor’s note and you will almost certainly be denied benefits. Keep your own notes about how it happened, and how you felt physically and emotionally the days and weeks following the accident. Keep a list of your appointments, dates, and doctors. Your workers’ compensation attorney will also gather evidence including any video footage of the accident and eye witness statements when necessary.
If you lose time from work because of your injury, you are entitled to lost wages. Be sure to carefully document the time you take off work. To claim lost wages, you will need a written doctor’s note stating that you are unable to work because of your work-related injury. You will also need a written note if your doctor gives you work restrictions or a light duty release. If your employer cannot or will not accommodate work restrictions prescribed by your doctor, your best option is to call BFS for assistance. We can answer your specific questions about your claim.
Report the Injury to Your Employer.
We understand that you will want to focus on healing after being injured at work. However, keep in mind that you must report your work injury to your employer no later than 72 hours after the accident that caused the injury. You should always do this as soon as possible to avoid potentially missing this essential deadline. Regardless of how big or small the injury is, don’t hesitate to report it. You never know what “minor” injuries may turn into long-term health problems!
Follow the Recommended Recovery Protocol
Be a good patient. This is often forgotten, but it is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations for treating your injury. In Vermont, if you are unhappy with the medical treatment you are getting or if a doctor recommends an invasive treatment that you are unsure about (such as surgery), you have the right to choose another doctor and you have the right to get a second and even a third opinion.
Seek the Help of a Vermont Workers’ Compensation Attorney.
Navigating the workers’ compensation process can be challenging. The laws governing workers’ compensation are complex and your employer’s insurance company may attempt to deny your claim. We won’t let the details fall through the cracks. We will make sure you get everything you should.
Remember that you do not have to go through the claims process alone. Our workers’ compensation attorneys are here for you during this difficult time. We will work hard to help you obtain the compensation you need to get back on your feet after a workplace injury.
Don’t forget that our firm offers free consultations. Contact Biggam Fox Skinner at (802) 445-9141 to schedule yours.