Although the workplace should be hazard-free, injuries at work are common on a day to day basis. Getting injured at work is not something you should plan for, but should be thought about due to how common it is. If you do get injured at work, you should immediately contact your supervisor and tell them about your injury. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were around 2.8 million cases related to workplace injuries in 2020. Causes of workplace accidents include overexertion, slip-and-fall accidents, traffic accidents, workplace violence, and exposure to dangerous substances or working conditions. There are five common mistakes that employees who are injured at work make, which can result in losing compensation.
Not Reporting the Injury in a Timely Manner
Ignoring your injury, or waiting to report it, may bring into question the legitimacy of the injury and your integrity. In the State of Nevada, workers are required to report their injuries within seven days of the accident causing an injury. Delaying the report of your injury can be used as a defense by your employer’s insurance company. These time requirements differ depending on the state.
Failure to Disclose Previous Injuries
If you were injured at work previously, you should disclose that information to your employer. Failing to report a previous incident could ultimately result in you losing your compensation completely. If your pre-existing injury worsened due to an incident at work, your employer has to compensate you for the medical bills.
Not Reporting All Injuries
The most common mistake is failing to report the total extent of your injuries at work to the doctor. Although some injuries could seem minor at the time of the incident, additional symptoms could emerge days or weeks later. For example, if you fell at work and hurt your back, but also felt pain in your arm, you should report both the back and arm pain. Failing to report all injuries could result in losing compensation as it can seem you are trying to claim more than you are entitled to.
Refusing to Return to Work
Depending on the seriousness of the injury, your employer may give you time off of work in order to recover. When your doctor clears you to go back to work, you must at least attempt to go back to work. Not returning to work could also result in losing further compensation or even your job. Your employer may terminate you from your position because of your refusal to return. Doctors will assess you and place you in one of three categories:
- Fit for work based on pre-injury duties with no restrictions
- Fit for work, but with restrictions
- Not fit for work
Not Seeking Legal Assistance
It is highly recommended for you to seek legal assistance when injured at the workplace to fight against insurance companies, which are backed by their own legal team. Even if your case appears to be open and shut, it is best to find an attorney who has the knowledge and skillset to properly represent you. It would be very difficult to deal with complicated legal proceedings, insurance claims, and any medical-related paperwork by yourself, especially going up against insurance companies.
What Are My Rights?
Although every state has its own different laws for workplace injuries, there are common rights in every state such as:
- Right to consult with a doctor on your injury
- Right for legal representation
- Right to return to work after time off from a workplace injury
- Right for legal representation
It is essential that as a worker, you know your rights if an incident occurs in the workplace. For example, if you get injured at work and your employer suggests you use your health insurance to pay for medical treatment, you have the right to refuse. Furthermore, if they requested you to not file a workers’ compensation claim, you also have the right to refuse his request.
Ultimately, if you get injured in the workplace, you must report every extent of the injury immediately. Workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility, but employers are obligated to maintain a safe and hazard-free workplace. It is also highly recommended to hire a personal injury attorney to help you deal with the incident. Here at Richard Harris Law Firm, our personal injury attorney team wants to make sure you get full compensation and avoid the common pitfalls that could harm your claim.