When you clock in at your job in the morning, you expect to put in a few hours of hard work and clock back out in the evening. What you don’t expect is to be hurt on the job. But it happens every single week to thousands of hard-working Americans. And if it happens to you, it’s important that you know how to respond.
The Most Common Workplace Injuries
According to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2017. That amounts to a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time workers. In other words, a little more than one in four people reading this article will find themselves in a situation where they’re hurt or sick on the job.
Every industry and occupation exposes employees to different risks, but some of the most common are slips, trips and falls, being caught in or struck by moving machinery, transportation and vehicle-related accidents, fire and explosions, and overexertion and repetitive stress injuries.
The 5 Costly Mistakes That Injured Employees Make
Naturally, people who are hurt on the job don’t always think clearly in the moments and days after the injury. But if you find yourself in a compromised situation, do your best to avoid making the following mistakes (which will lower your claim and potentially cost you thousands of dollars).
- Not Seeking Immediate Medical Attention
Whatever you do, be sure to seek out immediate medical attention from a doctor or licensed medical professional. Failing to do this will damage any future claims you try to bring. It would show a lack of severity and commitment to recovery.
- Failing to Properly Report the Injury
Furthermore, it’s important that you properly report and document the injury. Every state has different laws and requirements – many require you to report within 90 days – so be sure to read up on your situation. Meticulously abide by every rule and stipulation, so as not to compromise your case in any way.
The biggest mistake people make is assuming their injury is too small to report. Unfortunately, small injuries often become larger injuries down the road. A failure to report the onset of the injury could hurt any future claims you try to bring.
- Speaking to Your Employer
Stewart Law Offices encourages workers’ comp victims to avoid speaking to the employer or any representative of the employer – including an insurance adjuster – prior to consulting with an attorney.
While the claims adjusters you speak to may seem friendly and concerned with your situation, this is typically just their angle. They’ll be looking for ways to reduce your benefits or reject your claim. An attorney can provide the necessary counsel on how to speak with your employer. They may even choose to contact the employer on your behalf and take control of the situation.
- Not Being Open and Honest
More times than not, it’s a lack of honesty and transparency that ends up costing employees the most in workers’ compensation claims. People either try to tough out an injury and act like it isn’t a big deal (for fear of being seen as weak), or they exaggerate their symptoms in an effort to get a bigger claim. In both situations, the truth is better.
It’s within your best interests to be as open and honest about the injury as you can be. Otherwise, you’ll negatively impact your case and risk having it thrown out altogether.
- Trying to Handle the Claim on Your Own
You should never, under any circumstances, try to handle your own personal injury claim. Businesses have workers’ comp lawyers and experienced professionals working for them. If you go into these discussions and negotiations unrepresented, you’ll fail to get the claim you deserve. You need experts in your corner.
Set Yourself Up for Recovery
After a workplace injury, there’s no sense in sulking or wallowing in despair. While you’re certainly in pain and discomfort, it’s helpful to be proactive and take smart steps towards reaching a full recovery. Lean on the people around you and ask for help when you need it. You’ll eventually rediscover a new normal.
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