What Do I Do If I'm Hurt at Work?
Hopefully, if you are reading this, you are doing so shortly after you have been injured. The most important steps are reporting your injury and getting medical care.
Obviously, your employer will likely know if there’s a severe or obvious injury. If an ambulance has to be called, then one is pretty well assured that the details of the accident, and at least the most urgent injuries are documented. At the same time, construction site accidents may require prompt notification to OSHA. So, companies are supposed to be on the lookout for injured workers.If It’s an Emergency, Go to The Hospital
This seems obvious, but sometimes isn’t. If you’ve been hurt at work and need immediate medical attention, just go. If you can let someone know in the process, that’s best. But, don’t feel like you need to get permission from anyone to go to the Emergency Room.What if My Employer Doesn’t Know I’m Hurt?
Most injuries are not catastrophic, yet can cause long term consequences. They also may not show up immediately. Take, for example, a truck driver who is unloading tires at a delivery site. He pulls on a tire and has pain in his shoulder. What he thought was a momentary twinge turns out to persist, to be caused by a rotator cuff tear, and ultimately to require surgery. If he fails to report the injury to his employer, he has opened up defenses for the employer and its workers compensation insurer: No work injury; No causal relationship to work incident.
These defenses take on more force if there is no early treatment. Delay in treatment – many dedicated employees will take the “I’ll walk it off” approach – is mitigated by a report documenting the physical complaint. A good Workers Compensation lawyer will likely be needed to show the insurance company that you are entitled to Workers Compensation.What Should I Report?
A report of any kind to the employer and to the medical provider should include all injured body parts even if you do not think they are significant. You can even say you don’t think that particular injury is serious, but list it anyway. Often, we see treatment dedicated to the body part producing the most pain at the moment, while the accompanying injuries ignored at the Emergency Room turn out to be chronic.
A van driver involved in a car collision strikes her nose and has tightness in her back. Because her nose is bleeding, the urgent care personnel focus on the bleeding, and fail to note the back symptoms. Months later, the back is still hurting and the nose has long been healed. It is common for symptoms to worsen in the day or two following the triggering incident, and you should note it to the employer and/or medical provider if that happens.Do I need a Lawyer?
What else should you do? Talk to a Lawyer. It is free, and you are tapping into a load of experience. At Marcotte Law Firm, our Lowell Workers Compensation Attorneys we have handled thousands of work injury cases. Our lawyers can answer your questions and give you guidance on how to go forward. We understand that many workers are very loyal to their employers, or do not want to rock the boat. Yet you may need to make preparations in case the injuries are more problematic than you initially anticipated. A Lowell Workers Compensation Attorney can help you walk that minefield. Consulting with us costs you nothing and does not commit you to having a lawyer, but we will be available and prepared if and when you need us.
If you’ve been hurt at work, call the experienced Lowell Workers Compensation Lawyers at Marcotte Law Firm for a free, no obligation consultation.