Thousands of workers become injured at work each year in the U.S. In 2016 alone, over 5,000 work-related fatalities occurred – the highest since 2008. Even when there are safety measures in place, workers can still suffer from injuries at work. Learn how to handle a work injury to protect yourself, receive or offer fair compensation, and prevent future problems in the workplace.
Get Medical Help Immediately.
It is important that any injury receives medical attention right away. Employers must provide the injured employee with the first line of care, such as from the company nurse or doctor. In serious cases, employees must go to a hospital or medical facility for treatment.
Secure and Document the Scene of the Injury.
For serious injuries, the employer must secure the area in which an injury occurred at once. This will be useful in case of an investigation. If there are any materials, tools, or equipment involved in the injury, he or she must secure these, as well. It is also a good idea to take pictures to document the incident and help preserve any evidence.
Employers may conduct their own internal investigation, such as checking the area or equipment involved, interviewing witnesses, and preparing a report. An internal investigation must also include an assessment of the risk and an implementation of new rules and policies to prevent further or similar incidents in the future.
Inform the OSHA.
Employers must notify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for serious injuries within 8 to 24 hours of occurrence. If the employee needs hospitalization or amputation, the incident must go on record within 24 hours. If the injury is fatal, the employer must report it within 8 hours. If the employer does not make the report, the OSHA may impose fines or citations.
Should You Hire a Lawyer?
The help of a workers’ compensation attorney may be necessary depending on the severity of the injury. How the employer acts after the accident and the factors that led to the injury should also go into consideration. In general, the employee may represent him- or herself in case of minor injuries. However, even in situations where the issue is uncomplicated, having the support of top work accident lawyers will be helpful in ensuring that the process is fair to all concerned. A trained and experienced legal professional can give the proper advice and information that will help establish the case and give protection for both the company and the worker.
Maintain Open Communication.
Accidents do happen, even in workplaces where there are safety policies in place. To avoid misunderstanding, it is important for both employers and employees to keep the communication lines open. This will help show trust and prevent any costly or prolonged proceedings that may turn out to be disadvantageous for both parties. The key is to complete the necessary actions (such as medical care and documentation) in an accurate and prompt manner, and to keep the other party informed to prevent unnecessary delays. Also, be sure to contact one of the top work accident attorneys available.