People develop medical conditions because of their employment for many reasons. For example, they might have workplace exposure to chemicals or compounds that cause them to develop an illness. They could get hurt in an incident involving heavy machinery. Workers can also develop repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome from doing the same tasks every day.
Any of these conditions could make a worker eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. What are the right steps to take when you get hurt at work and think you might need workers’ compensation?
Report the issue as soon as possible
If you get hurt during a specific incident, you will likely want to report that to your employer right away. Other times, it will be necessary to report your condition after your doctor diagnoses you with a work-related medical condition. Generally, you need to make a report within 15 days of an injury.
Be honest about how serious the injury and how it affects your job performance. Once you tell your employer, they can file the necessary internal paperwork to initiate your claim.
Instead of pushing through the pain, go get treatment
The desire to be a hard-working and productive employee is honorable, but it can do more harm than good after a workplace injury. You need to see a medical professional for evaluation and figure out what treatment is necessary for your recovery. It’s important that they know the injury occurred at work and that you are open and honest about the symptoms that you have.
You will then need to follow through with that treatment. Compliance with medical orders is an important component of a successful workers’ compensation claim. If you don’t get treatment, you may ultimately have liability for how the condition affects your functions.
Get support during the claim process
It is possible that either your employer or their insurance company will decide to fight you about the benefits that you need or try to force you to go back to work when you haven’t recovered enough yet.
Partnering with an attorney familiar with workers’ compensation can help you avoid mistakes during your initial claim and make it easier for you to negotiate a settlement or appeal a denial of your benefits.
An attorney can also help you avoid common workers’ compensation mistakes and can make it is easier for you to get support, for example by helping you ask your employer for reasonable accommodations when you do return to the job. What’s most important is that you keep a focus on your long-term needs throughout the process by getting support and learning about your rights.