A Guide To Protecting Your Rights At Work

When most people think of work injuries construction accidents, crashes and major incidences tend to come to mind. Less frequently is carpel tunnel, ongoing back pain or what is initially considered a minor scrape taken into account. Obvious injuries, however, are easier to gain financial compensation for. More typically it’s the under-reported and initially minor injuries that result in litigation, loss of job and the inability to pay for injuries that can ruin someone’s life.

When to report an on job injury?

There are a number of scenarios that can result in injury and they definitely aren’t all the same. What is uniform across the board is that you should report an injury as soon as you notice it—don’t wait thinking it will get better.

If you are cut on a sharp object at work and assume it’s a minor wound and don’t report it to your supervisor, there is no documentation to back up your claim if the wound later becomes infected or if there are any further complications.

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If you choose not to seek medical attention you don’t have to, but by reporting the incident to your supervisor you are essentially just covering your bases in case something goes wrong in the future or your injury worsens. Beyond simply reporting your injury you also need to make sure your supervisor completes an incident report and you need to ask for a copy to keep for your own records. You should do this within the first 24 hours of your accident, or from when you first notice you’re in pain.

What should you do in cases when you need medical attention?

If it’s obvious you need immediate medical attention don’t hesitate to head to the emergency room. Make sure you tell your doctor the injury occurred while you were at work. It’s important to include details about what your job entails including tasks, activities and motions you do on a regular basis.

If you didn’t see a doctor immediately, you can still receive aid. Receiving compensation may be more difficult, but you should request an in-depth review of your case.

Why should you report an accident if you don’t need medical attention?

Some workers don’t report accidents because they are new on the job, don’t want to cause waves or don’t want to be viewed as a complainer by their co-workers or supervisor.

This attitude, unfortunately, is what can lead to more serious accidents at work. Reporting an injury gives your company the opportunity to investigate what caused the accidents and find ways to prevent further injuries from occurring.

What if your injury developed over time?

For people working in offices, doing heavy lifting or putting strain on various body parts, an injury can happen suddenly, or in many cases they slowly develop over time.

These types of injury are so common they are termed occupational disease.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, asbestos lung disease and back injuries are typical occupational diseases and the timeline for reporting these types of injuries can be up to two years—although it often varies by state.

Your doctor will have to put in writing that your condition and work are directly related, however, so it’s essential to keep your doctor informed if you think you’re developing any symptoms related to a possible work related injury.

Never let your supervisor tells you to wait a few days to report an injury, although time periods do vary, if you wait too long—or in some cases wait at all—you could be denied benefits altogether.

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