Workplace accidents are surprisingly common. In Arizona, the overall non-fatal injury rate is 3.2 per 100 workers, or 3.2% during 2014. In addition, Arizona had 86 fatal occupational injuries that same year.
The most common industries for workplace accidents, not surprisingly, are manufacturing, construction, utilities, police, firefighters, and correctional workers. Staying safe no matter what work you do is essential, but do you know what to do if you’re injured in a workplace accident?
Seek Medical Attention
Even if the workplace accident seems like “no big deal”, be sure to seek medical attention. If it’s a chemical injury, immediately follow your workplace protocol for decontamination. Medical attention is important for two reasons. First, you may have an injury that you don’t notice at the time of the accident. This is common due to shock and even embarrassment. A medical evaluation will make sure that any injuries you have are detected right away.
Second, refusing medical attention can be used against you if you try to file a workplace accident claim. You want to make sure all of your rights are protected, so don’t decline medical help or tell others that you “are fine” without being checked out first.
Report the Workplace Accident
Sometimes workers are embarrassed that they got injured, or they don’t want to deal with the paperwork and human resources department, so they fail to report the workplace accident. Unfortunately, if you don’t report the accident, you open yourself to difficult circumstances. You could find out you’re injured, but be ineligible for worker’s compensation. You could have your request for time off to heal denied by your employer. You could find yourself facing high medical bills with no help.
Always report workplace accidents, even if they’re embarrassing. Reporting helps protect you financially and legally.
Write Down Your Account of the Workplace Accident
Documenting your side of the story is an important step that many workers forget to take. It’s not enough to fill out the human resources paperwork – write down your account of the accident and include who witnessed it. Take pictures of the circumstances and the injury if you can. The sooner you do this, the better because your memory begins to play tricks on you over time.
Your account of the workplace accident can help you when submitting a worker’s compensation claim or if you need to testify in a legal case. Having written documentation shortly after the workplace accident is extremely valuable.
Seek Legal Counsel
Many workplace accidents are serious enough to warrant significant compensation. This includes worker’s compensation to pay medical bills, time off work, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, you cannot assume that your human resource department is on your side. Many times, they will do what is best for the company, not what is best for you.
As a result, seeking legal counsel is vital. Make sure to talk to a lawyer who is experienced in workplace accidents and personal injury claims. Provide the documentation that you have about the accident, and get advice on how best to protect yourself legally and financially.
If you need help with a workplace accident claim, or want to learn more about how to protect yourself in case of a workplace accident, I’m here to help. Call me today at 602-212-0202. Together we’ll make sure you’re protected and that your treatment gives you what you need and deserve.