All employees should be able to work in an environment that does not pose a risk to their health or safety. Yet workplace accidents happen every day, often with life-changing consequences. If you’ve been injured on the job, what options do you have?
If you were injured in a workplace accident, there are steps you should take to protect your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
Get Emergency Medical Treatment
Immediately after a workplace accident, the most important thing to do is to focus on treating your injury. Your workplace should have a first-aid kit. If you need assistance, find someone who can provide first-aid. If your injury is severe, you may need to remain still while a colleague finds the first-aid kit and administers first aid.
Even if your injuries seem minor at first, it is important that you appropriately care for your injuries so they do not worsen or develop into a chronic medical condition.
Once your immediate injuries are under control, you should consider whether you need to go to the hospital, and whether you need to call an ambulance.
Report the Accident
Anytime there is a workplace accident, and especially one in which you were injured, you should complete the Notice of Injury or Occupational Disease (Incident Report Form C-1) no later than 7 days after the accident. If there is no accident report, you will face a much more difficult time recovering benefits under workers’ compensation. And even if you were not actually injured on the job, filing a report could prompt your employer to implement new safety measures that could prevent someone else from being hurt in the future.
If you were working alone when the accident occurred, make sure your colleagues are made aware of the incident. This could be important if you make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, or if there is an investigation.
If there were witnesses to the accident, try to get their names and contact information. A witness may be able to provide additional information about the circumstances that led to your injury and help establish that your employer was responsible for your injuries.
See a Doctor
You should make an appointment to see a doctor as quickly as possible after a workplace accident, even if your injuries seem minor. In many cases, injury symptoms do not appear until hours or even a few days after the accident. In cases of severe injuries, you may need to call an ambulance or go to the emergency room.
If you seek medical treatment for a workplace injury, complete a Claim for Compensation (Form C-4), which will be available where you initially sought medical care. The form must be filed within 90 days after a workplace accident, and your treating physician or chiropractor must complete the form and mail it to your employer and your employer’s insurer and third-party administrator.
In most cases, you will be required to choose a doctor or chiropractor from a list provided by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. If you are dissatisfied with the doctor or chiropractor, you may be able to request a change. If your employer does not have a list of preferred providers, you may be able to select a physician or chiropractor from a list of panel physicians or chiropractors. Medial costs related to your workplace injury will be paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider.
If your employer chose your doctor and you were not satisfied, you can still make an appointment with your own doctor for a second opinion. Even if you have to pay for the doctor’s visit out of your own pocket, the benefits you recover could more than pay for the doctor’s visit. And if you have health insurance, your doctor’s visit may be covered.
Report Injuries to Your Employer
Your employer and your doctor will initiate a workers’ compensation claim, but they will not do this until you notify them that you were injured on the job. If you reported the accident but did not know you were injured at the time, notify your employer of your injuries and follow up to make sure the workers’ compensation claim was filed.
If possible, take photographs of the scene of the accident. You should also take photographs of your injuries. As your body heals, they will change a little bit every day. Document your injuries, both as soon as possible after they happened, and as they heal, so that the workers’ compensation insurance company will understand the nature and scope of your injuries. But don’t post them on social media.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The workers’ compensation process can be complicated. Hiring an experienced attorney will help you recover the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve after being injured on the job. Nevada workers’ compensation attorney Natalia Vander Laan will help you through your physical and emotional recovery and will work hard to maximize your financial recovery.
The Vander Laan Law Firm: Compassionate Legal Representation for Injured Workers
The Vander Laan Law Firm, LLC represents injured workers in Minden and Carson City, Nevada, and throughout the Northern Nevada community. Attorney Natalia Vander Laan cares deeply about her clients and their well-being and fights hard to protect their rights.
Ms. Vander Laan handles workers’ compensation claims on a contingency fee, which means she does not get paid unless she recovers money for you.
Learn what sets the Vander Laan Law Firm apart from other attorneys in Northern Nevada, get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and contact the Vander Laan Law Firm today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and how Ms. Vander Laan can help.