3 crucial steps to take after a workplace injury

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Few incidents can disrupt someone’s work day more significantly than getting hurt on the job. Maybe a co-worker makes a mistake while operating a forklift in a warehouse, or perhaps someone gets burned in a commercial kitchen.

There are countless possible sources of injury in any given work environment, and even those in relatively safe professions might need to stop working because they got hurt on the job. Injured employees in North Carolina often qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, but those benefits are not automatic.

What steps does someone usually need to take after a work injury if they hope to obtain workers’ compensation benefits?

Communicating with employers immediately

Those working in an industrial environment or other high-risk job settings may have access to on-site medical facilities. Employers may have a first-aid station or a nurse on staff who can help with someone’s injuries. Even if someone cannot obtain treatment on the job, they likely need to notify their team lead or manager of the incident right away. That prompt communication ensures that there are internal records of their injury. Workers need to submit written notice within 30 days of an incident in most cases. Those records are crucial for benefits claims later.

Seeking appropriate medical treatment

After someone has provided notice to their employer, they may then potentially leave work to seek more thorough medical evaluation and treatment. In emergency scenarios, they may leave immediately to seek care because they cannot wait to file an internal report. Obtaining off-site medical care is often crucial to someone’s sensation after an injury. Workers typically need to inform medical professionals that the injury occurred at work. The diagnosis that they receive in the treatment plan that the doctor recommends can then determine what happens next.

Initiating a claim and following a medical plan

The last step a worker must take after getting hurt on the job is to officially file a workers’ compensation claim. The claims process typically begins with communication with an employer. The worker may need to attend more medical appointments, take time away from work or ask for medical accommodations to continue working. The employee has to carefully comply with the treatment recommendation of the doctor overseeing their care. A failure to follow the recommended treatment plan might make someone ineligible for continued benefits.

Employees who follow the right procedures are ordinarily able to receive workers’ compensation coverage for medical care, and even disability benefits if they require time away from their jobs. As such, taking the right steps after an on-the-job injury can help minimize the financial and professional consequences of a work incident.