31st Oct 2013
When injured at work, you should be concerned about your rights under the law as well as your physical well-being. No one plans to be hurt on the job, and once it happens you may be too shocked, scared or hurt to be able to act in your best interest. It’s wise to learn the first steps to take the day you are possibly hurt on the job, in order to ensure you don’t lose your right to file a workers’ compensation claim, and receive any pay from missed work as soon as possible.
Step 1 – Give Notice to Your Supervisor or Manager as Soon as You Know You May Be Hurt
There are several points within this step to pay attention to, and reasons for these points. Time is of the essence, and not all injuries are alike. Be aware of your rights and be protective of your health.
- According to Pennsylvania state law, you must report an accident / potential injury at work to your supervisor or manager – someone who is your superior. You may not be protected if you just tell a co-worker and assume the report will be made according to law.
- Your notice to your manager or supervisor may be verbal or written, but it is better to have it in writing for clarity. Ideally you should ask to have a copy of the written report.
- Report the incident immediately – don’t put off reporting it to see if you’re okay, or if you’re afraid of rocking the boat. If you do not provide notice within 120 days of the initial injury, you cannot bring a workers’ compensation claim, even if you have evidence to prove the injury was work-related.
- Failure to report the injury when it happens could reduce any workers’ compensation benefits you may receive, and affect when you receive them.
- Make the report even if you just suspect an injury – this is no time to be macho and show your co-workers how fast you bounce back. Many injuries can be more severe than they appear initially, and others may not show symptoms until days or weeks later.
Step 2 – Look for the Posted List of Company-Approved Physicians at Work
Your employer should have posted in a conspicuous location the names and numbers of physicians or groups of physicians for employees to contact if a work injury is suspected. One of these doctors must be seen for the first 90 days of any treatment for the injury (there are some exceptions for emergency treatment); after 90 days you may see any physician, but must give notice to your employer of this change within five (5) days. If the employer has not posted this list of approved physicians, you may see a doctor of your choice – but you should make sure that the employer does not have this list before doing so.
Step 3 – Keep a Written Record of All Events Leading to and Following the Work-Related Injury
Keep a diary or calendar of all events as they happened, for the following reasons:
- There are possibly many factors involved in a workplace injury, and many post-injury actions that may occur and time that may pass before you are called upon to give your side of the story.
- Remembering what happened, who you told and when, who you spoke with, any physician you saw, and anything your employer may have asked you to sign may all be important pieces of information required for your claim.
- You may be in pain, fearful of losing your job, and worried about finances – it is often difficult to remember important details off the top of your head when you’re under duress.
- Keeping a calendar of all events will give you credibility, and improve your chances in any possible litigation.
There is a lot to know if you’re injured on the job – you may review the Department of Labor & Industry’s Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act in full, or contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation claims to ensure you’re taking the steps necessary to restore your physical and financial health. Be aware: employers and their insurance companies already have their own attorneys. Before signing any document for your employer or their insurance company after a work-related injury, consult an attorney who has your best interests in mind.
Stief Gross & Sagoskin P.C. has over 35 years of experience providing workers’ compensation representation – from filing to litigation, temporary pay, and lump sum payout – in Bucks, Berks, Lehigh and Philadelphia counties. buy oxycontin online