No one plans on getting hurt at work, but unfortunately, virtually every job has a risk of a work injury occurring. When a workplace injury happens, many employees overlook what is needed to prove a workers’ compensation case.
A work injury is something to take very seriously, especially if the injury is serious. An expert workers’ compensation attorney can help you deal with your employer, medical treatment, and insurance. This article will discuss what you must do if you’re injured at work.
Seek Medical Treatment
An injury is no time to be heroic, set an example for other employees, or prove your strength. A work injury might not seem like much at first, but you could be dealing with serious injuries you don’t know about or affect future workers’ compensation.
Ignoring a work-related injury or not getting treatment promptly is never a good idea, notably because you’ll pay for your medical treatment yourself.
The risks of an untreated medical injury include, but are not limited to:
- Internal injuries to bones, tissue, or organs
- Long-term mental and emotional issues
- Long-term rehabilitation needs
- Illness resulting from an untreated injury
In addition, if an injury is untreated, you could be rendered unable to perform your work. However, with treatment, you can prove your injury qualifies you for insurance coverage or workers’ compensation. Seeking medical treatment is the first step to take after an injury to ensure your needs are met, personally and at work.
File an Official Work Injury Report With Your Employer
After a work injury, your employer or the insurance provided by your employer and the carrier for any disability or worker’s compensation insurance will want an official paper trail.
You will also want an official report of your work injury as it helps you establish when and how you were injured and that your employer is responsible for any subsequent problems.
Many employers have a procedure for filing work injuries; you should follow that to the greatest extent possible. Your supervisor will also likely be required to file a report detailing your work injury, and you should receive a copy of their report.
Additionally, you should talk to a personal injury attorney if you’re still waiting to receive a report from your employer with your supervisor’s contribution. This is usually because your employer is simply slow in getting your paperwork processed.
Some employers, however, try to impede any work injury paperwork, hoping the situation will resolve itself without workers’ compensation. This approach is against the law, and not giving you the copies of the report you need is a first indicator an attorney would help.
Per Minnesota law, a First Report of Injury from your supervisor must be filed with the Minnesota State Department of Labor and Industry for an injury that may lead to missed work time. Your attorney can help you get the necessary paperwork and ensure your employer follows the law.
Follow Doctor Orders Closely
If your employer fights your claim, an easy way they can prove your injury is not worthy of them covering it or workers’ compensation insurance coverage is to prove you are not injured as seriously as you claim.
The easiest way to do that is to catch you ignoring doctor’s orders. After all, if you are not following medical orders, how serious is your claim about a work injury?
To support your workers’ compensation claim, keep all doctor appointments, including any physical therapy sessions. Follow their advice for medication, including taking your medication at the correct dose and time.
Adhere to your doctor’s healthcare treatment plan as much as possible. The reason is threefold:
- Following your doctor’s orders will help you recover faster and as much as possible.
- Your treatment plan is an official record of the severity of your work injury, what treatment is currently necessary, and a window into what treatment might be needed to get you back to full health.
- Your employer or insurance carrier can use your medical information to terminate or limit treatment or the time you miss work. If either can establish you did not follow medical orders, they can argue you deserve no more health coverage or workers’ compensation. If you need long-term care or disability, they can argue you deserve nothing.
Maintain Meticulous Records
Every aspect of your life and medical treatment can fall under scrutiny if your medical claim is challenged by your employer or their long-term disability insurance or healthcare insurance carrier.
You must, therefore, maintain complete and accurate records from when you suffered a work injury until you have your workers’ compensation or are successful in court.
Sloppy record-keeping can result in gaps in proving your case. It can also delay your receiving what you deserve if you must compel your employer or insurance company to cover you. In exchange for some simple record-keeping, you can secure your ability to get well without rushing back to work.
If you are a trustworthy and hardworking employee, your employer likely won’t want to fight your workers’ compensation claim.
An excellent way to maintain an open and productive relationship is to keep them apprised of your condition. Take notes on your conversations with them, but update them frequently about your work injury, unless instructed otherwise by your attorney.
Another exception to communicating with your employer is if you have to go on disability. If that is the case, you must follow the law or your claim could be denied. In particular, the law usually prohibits your employer from talking to you, except in the most general terms.
Your Best Move With a Work Injury: Hire an Attorney
No one wants to go through the stress and uncertainty of a work injury. If you’re wondering what to do if injured at work in Minnesota, you may need to file a workers’ compensation claim and a disability claim. Resting, following doctor’s orders, and keeping records of everything are a few ways to ensure you get what you need. Contact CJB Law today to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.