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.
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. If at all possible, leave the building and get somewhere safe. 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. Many workplaces have certified first aiders on staff who can offer emergency medical care. Typically, most workplaces will require workplace safety courses if there is a higher risk for accidents, as well as requiring multiple first-aid kits onsite. Emergency services may need to be contacted in more serious situations.
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
After leaving the accident scene, it is critical to get medical care, even if you feel fine at first. Prompt medical attention can help detect and treat any underlying conditions because some injuries may not immediately show symptoms. If the injuries are severe, visit a qualified healthcare provider or the emergency room.
Bring the Accident to the Attention of the Supervisor
As soon as you have finished receiving medical care, tell your boss or supervisor about your visit to the doctor. Any medical records or accident-related paperwork should be given to them in copy form. By doing this, you may be confident that your employer is aware of the situation and prepared to take the necessary action.
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.
Consult With An Attorney
Depending on the specifics and seriousness of the incident, you could speak with a personal injury lawyer. In certain situations, where 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.
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
Workers' compensation claims may occasionally be the subject of an investigation to confirm their legitimacy. Participate fully in any investigations that are carried out by the insurance provider or appropriate authorities. Give them whatever information or evidence they request to back up 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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