No line of work is exempt from hazards, or a potential workplace injury. Whether you move semi-trailers or sheets of paper, you risk the possibility of a workplace injury. If you are injured while performing your job duties, here’s a simple “to-do” list:
- Notify your employer that you’ve been hurt. With few exceptions, every employer is required to carry workers' compensation insurance. Your employer should then file a notification form with the State, and contact their insurance company. The insurance representative will be in touch with you within a matter of hours or a few days. This is strictly an insurance matter. You are not viewed as taking action against your employer. It’s not personal—unless your employer doesn’t carry insurance.
- Seek medical assistance immediately. You don’t want to jeopardize your health by failing to see your doctor. Explain what and where your accident happened. Trying to “tough it out” on your own could be detrimental to your health and your claim.
- Document what happened, including any witnesses that were present. You won’t remember everything months from now—when you may need it. Photos of the accident area and your injuries may also be helpful later if the insurance company contests your claim.
- Stay in touch with your employer and keep them informed of your medical and work status. If your doctor takes you off work, be sure that a “no work” note from your doctor’s office is faxed or emailed to your employer so you don’t lose your job.
- Start receiving indemnity benefits. If you have a doctor's note saying you are unable to return to work after seven days, you should begin receiving weekly indemnity payments in an amount equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wage (AWW).
Hopefully, you’re able to return quickly to your job with no restrictions. If, however, you return to work with restrictions, make sure a copy of these restrictions is given to your employer. Be sure to follow your doctor’s advice and don’t exceed your restrictions.
Don’t expect the insurance company to help you every step of the way. On the contrary, with few exceptions, they will try to frustrate you by denying or delaying medical treatment or indemnity payments. If, and when, this happens, try to find a way to continue your medical treatment, follow your doctor’s advice, and be persistent.
If you reach an impasse with the insurance company and need legal help, call Steffens Law office for a free review of your claim. There is no commitment.