What To Do After an Accident at Work: A Step-by-Step Guide Staff Profile Picture
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We understand that dealing with the aftermath of a workplace accident, whether a fall, slip or any other type of incident, can be challenging and confusing. With over 4.9 million workplace accidents happening in the U.S. on a yearly basis, these accidents are quite common. When it happens to you, the shock of the accident can prevent you from taking or even knowing the proper steps. We've compiled this detailed guide to provide the information you need to respond appropriately following a workplace accident. Our comprehensive guide will take you through every step of the process, ensuring your safety, reporting the incident, and receiving the appropriate medical attention. So, let's get started and discover how to approach this difficult circumstance with assurance and clarity.

What To Do at the Scene of the Accident

Although every workplace is unique, there are common procedures that should be followed after an accident, regardless of its severity. In this section, we’ll cover what you should do at the scene of your workplace accident.

Prioritize Safety

Immediately after a workplace accident, it's important that you and other coworkers make sure the area remains safe for other employees. Assess the immediate threats first, and then move away from any lingering dangers. Keep in mind that your health is of vital importance.

Seek First Aid

Call for assistance as soon as you or any other accident victims need emergency medical care after your workplace incident.

If your employer has staff to assist with medical emergencies, contact them immediately. If not, notify your supervisor, safety manager, or human resources representative immediately and ask them to provide medical assistance.

Report the Incident to the Correct Authority

After the accident, inform your manager, supervisor, or other designated authority at work as soon as you can. Give them an accurate account of what occurred, including the date, time, and names of any witnesses. The incident will be appropriately recorded and may be dealt with effectively if it is reported as soon as possible. This makes sure the information is still fresh and as accurate as possible.

Preserve the Scene of the Incident

Try to keep the accident scene intact as long as it's safe to do so and for as long as possible until an in-depth investigation can be conducted. Avoid moving or causing any equipment or objects to be disturbed. Taking pictures or writing notes can be helpful for future insurance needs or investigations.

Gather Useful Information

Gather names and contact information from anyone who saw the accident and note it down. If you need to, their testimony could be helpful with insurance claims or other future needs in the case. Record any additional factors or potential dangers in the workplace area that may have contributed to the accident.

Follow Company Procedures and Protocols for Accidents

Every OSHA-compliant business should have an action plan for correctly reporting workplace accidents and injuries. It is crucial that you understand these accident reporting processes at your place of work. These may involve completing particular forms or event reports. Following these procedures ensures that the occurrence is accurately recorded and can help with future preventative efforts.

What To Do After Leaving the Scene of a Workplace Accident

If you have been involved in a workplace accident, it’s important that you follow several steps that will ensure your well-being and health, properly document the incident, and seek the appropriate assistance post-accident and before you file a workers’ compensation claim. These steps include:

Seek Medical Evaluation and Report the Incident

After the accident, the you should notify your employer (supervisor, safety manager, and/or HR representative) of the incident- including the mechanism of injury, the affected body part and you should also request medical treatment.

Your employer has the right to direct medical treatment and you should allow your employer the opportunity to direct care. If they fail to provide directions for medical assistance, then you should seek care on your own. You should document any efforts to seek medical treatment with your employer prior to seeking medical treatment on your own.

Keep Records

Keep thorough records of all prescriptions, doctor visits, and other costs associated with your injury. These documents are necessary for insurance claims and any legal actions outside of the workers' compensation claim. Be sure to keep track of any modifications to your physical or mental health that have occurred since the accident.

Follow Rehabilitation Plans

Make sure you carefully follow any rehabilitation or therapy recommendations made by your healthcare provider. Attend every session as scheduled and take part in the recommended therapies. This will aid in your recovery from the accident and create a record of your attempts to lessen the consequences of the accident.

Keep Up On Your Rights

Learn about your legal rights if a workplace accident has happened to you as an employee or even to one of your coworkers. Research the workers' compensation laws in your jurisdiction to understand the benefits and rights for which you may qualify. Keep up with the claim submission deadlines to avoid missing any crucial deadlines.

Keep Communication With Your Employer

Throughout your recovery, keep the lines of communication open with your employer. Update them on your health, your intended date of return to work, and any modifications you might need when you return. If and when you are prepared, a straightforward and cooperative approach will assist in facilitating a seamless return to work.

Additionally, it's best to keep all communication documented in the form of text or email to minimize questions about whether you provided proper notice to your employer about medical and return-to-work issues.

Consult With An Attorney

If you've been hurt at work, you should consult with an experienced attorney. In certain situations, an employee can seek additional personal injury damages outside workers’ compensation claims. If you choose to seek compensation for your injuries and damages, they can offer legal counsel, evaluate the strength of a prospective claim, and walk you through the procedure. After conducting thorough research, select a reliable lawyer with expertise in workplace accidents.

How To Start a Workers’ Comp Claim

After an accident in the workplace, it’s important to understand the proper steps to start your claim for workers’ compensation. Most employers will have a set process for creating a claim, but every employer is different. In this section, you’ll find a basic step-by-step guide to help you start your claim!

Report the Accident Immediately

Report the workplace accident or injury to your manager, supervisor, or other appropriate company official as soon as possible. Give a thorough explanation of what happened, mentioning the occasion's time, date, place, and nature of the accident. Reporting the incident for workers' compensation claims promptly is crucial, as there are often deadlines to meet.

Document Everything

Keep thorough records of all the details surrounding your injuries from the accident and the accompanying medical care. This includes prescriptions, bills, and any other pertinent paperwork, in addition to medical reports. Keep a journal where you can track the development of your injury, the symptoms you feel, and how it affects your day-to-day activities and employment.

Inform Your Employer of Your Intent to File

Employees sometimes need to formally inform their employer in writing of their plan to submit a workers' compensation claim. To determine whether this process is required, see your local laws and regulations on workers' compensation claims. Include any important details such as the date and time, the kind of injury suffered, and your contact information.

File the Claim

Work with the company’s workers' compensation representative or the human resources department to complete the paperwork needed to submit your claim. They will give you the necessary paperwork and instructions. To prevent any delays or issues, complete the forms entirely and precisely, including every possible detail of the incident.

Follow Up on Your Claim

To ensure that your claim is moving forward, keep in touch with the insurance provider or workers' compensation representative assigned to your employer. You should respond to their requests for information or extra paperwork as soon as possible. Maintain copies of all communications about your claim.

Cooperate with Investigations

You should cooperate with the investigation but there are times when even the most obvious claims could be subject to interpretation. The rules for workers' compensation claims can be complicated. Unfortunately, it's not always as simple as "Did the injury happen at work?"

Before you provide a formal statement to an insurance representative, it may be helpful to talk to an attorney to minimize the risk of unexpected complications with your claim.

Resources for Injured Workers

If you or someone you know has been involved in a workplace accident, it’s important to prioritize your health and wellness above all things. Make sure that you’re okay mentally and physically, and always seek immediate medical attention, even if you’re feeling okay after the accident. In this section, you’ll find helpful resources to guide you through your workers’ compensation process if you need them.

Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group

The Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group, a nonprofit membership organization with offices around the country, was established with the intention of protecting the rights of millions of employees and their families who suffer the consequences of workplace accidents and illnesses each year. The primary objectives of the group are to assist attorneys and nonprofit groups in advocating for the rights of injured workers by gathering data, educating the public, and communicating. The organization was founded in 1995 by a small group of claimants' attorneys, and it now has more than 1,100 members from all 50 states.  Paralegals, single practitioners, and attorneys from sizable law firms are among their members. Every day, WILG works to make sure they can adjust to the new problems wounded workers face. 


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established in 1970 to guarantee that all employees had safe and healthy working conditions. OSHA sets and enforces standards for all companies and offers them thorough training opportunities, outreach, help, and information. When an accident occurs, OSHA offers aid and resources to both employers and employees. They offer education, training, and claim submissions for workers who have been injured as a result of a working incident, and their resources include a wide range of themes related to workplace mishaps. Visit their website to find out more about the services they can provide for employees.

Injured Workers Pharmacy

The Injured Workers’ Pharmacy is an organization whose mission is to advocate for the rights of injured workers and provide them with the medications and prescriptions they need to help them focus on recovery. The IWP has created a pharmacy for injured workers that provides home delivery service of the specialized medications and prescriptions that the employees need. As part of their service, they offer next-day home delivery of medications, no upfront or out-of-pocket costs, no delays, and multilingual team members. To learn more about their pharmacy and additional services, visit their website here.

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Lou Waple is a Workers Compensation/Personal Injury Attorney located in Charlotte, NC. He has more than 20 years of litigation experience, most of which have been spent advocating for people who have suffered work related injuries. Visit: