It is crucial that a worker that has been injured on the job take appropriate steps following an accident. By following certain steps, the injured worker can ensure that his or her rates are adequately and fully protected. Additionally, the injured worker increases his or her chances of obtaining the best possible settlement for the accident case. Here is a checklist of things an injured employee should consider doing following a Workers’ Compensation accident.
The first and perhaps most important thing to do after a Workers’ Compensation accident is to report the accident.
- As quickly as humanly possible, the injured worker should report the specifics of exactly how the accident occurred to his or her supervisor. Make sure to provide as much detail and description on how the accident occurred to your supervisor. That way, there’s a full and comprehensive record of what occurred. Next, you want to make sure that your employer fills out what is called a First Report of Injury.
- This, the employer is legally required to fill out. After the employer fills it out, he or she must submit this First Report of Injury to the employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance company. There are strict deadlines governing how quickly this First Report of Injury must be provided to the insurance company. Initially reporting the accident to the employer can help ensure that the subsequent First Report of Injury be as detailed and comprehensive as possible. The next item on the checklist applies to those that experienced personal injuries from their workplace accident. If injuries were sustained, regardless of their severity, medical treatment should be obtained. Workers’ Compensation accidents can cause very, very mild injuries to very catastrophic injuries, including even death. Whatever injuries were suffered, you want to make sure that you obtain prompt and appropriate medical attention to fully address your injuries stemming from the accident. Additionally, by obtaining medical treatment, medical records will be generated, which will document the full extent and nature and quality of the injuries you sustained in your work accident. Keep in mind, you can go to any medical provider you wish to following your work injury. You do not have to go to any particular medical provider.
The next item on the checklist is something you should not do.
- What you should never do following a Workers’ Compensation accident is to sign any paperwork an insurance company sends to you. They may send you various forms, which can be confusing to one who has never seen such forms. Make sure not to sign or complete any of this paperwork because, by doing so, you may be unwittingly jeopardizing your rights to full compensation.
Next on the checklist is something you must do, which is to attend an independent medical exam, also known as an IME.
- The IME is a medical appointment that is arranged by and paid for by your employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance company. If you are out of work due to a work injury and an insurance company is paying you weekly compensation benefits, the insurance company, by law, is allowed to have you seen by a doctor of their choosing. This IME physician is paid handsomely from the insurance company to write a report. This report will be largely based on the doctor’s review of your medical records, as well as an in-person examination that he or she conducts of you. Therefore, by law, you must attend the independent medical exam if one is scheduled for you.
Next, always consider the possibility of a third-party case.
- By law, you cannot sue your employer for a work injury. You cannot sue for negligence against your employer stemming from a workplace accident. However, if your workplace injury was caused by a third party, then a third-party lawsuit may be possible. This is oftentimes seen in the context of a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall accident. Frequently in those instances, it is a third-party such as an individual or a company that negligently contributed to a workplace accident. If that is the case, you may have an underlying Workers’ Compensation accident claim to pursue, as well as a potential third-party negligence claim to pursue against the applicable individual or company responsible for causing your accident.
The final item on the checklist for injured workers to do is to contact a Workers’ Compensation injury attorney.
- A Workers’ Compensation attorney that is experienced will understand how to effectively navigate your case through the legal and court process. Workers’ Compensation Law can be quite complex. Therefore, having qualified representation and advocacy on your side can help to best promote your rights and entitlements under Workers’ Compensation Law.
Christopher Earley is a Workers’ Compensation attorney in Boston who handles Workers’ Compensation accidents as well as all types of personal injury accident cases. For over 15 years, the Law Office of Christopher Earley has been dedicated to representing the injured. If you or someone you know needs the assistance of an injury attorney, contact the Law Office of Christopher Earley today at 617-338-7400.