Nothing is more embarrassing than getting hurt at work. Not only do you have to deal with the jeers of your coworkers, but it can also be scary to report problems to upper management and file a worker's compensation claim. Unfortunately, although you might have the best intentions, some people make mistakes that can hurt their ability to collect compensation for injuries that weren't their fault. Here are two ways that you might unintentionally damage your worker's compensation claim, and what you should do to streamline your case.
1: Not Immediately Reporting Your Accident
To avoid looking weak or whiny, people are often tempted to "walk if off" after they are involved in a workplace accident. Instead of immediately talking with management about the problem and seeing a doctor, many people decide to go days, weeks, or even months without mentioning a problem. Usually people figure that they will talk with someone about the accident if symptoms get worse, or if a coworker sustains the same type of injury.
Unfortunately, your efforts to "suck it up" could seriously cost you. In addition to aggravating injuries, failure to report a work-related accident immediately could cause your worker's compensation claim to be dismissed. In fact, worker's compensation laws usually dictate that you report accidents within 30 days of the injury.
Most insurance companies that fund worker's compensation claims figure that if you were injured badly enough to need financial help, you would have sought other forms of assistance right away. For example, if you work in a bakery and you cut your hand on a slicing machine without a safety guard, worker's compensation insurance companies figure that if the cut was bad enough, you would have needed help immediately. Unfortunately, if you decide to slap a bandage on that cut and mention the problem a few months later, it might look suspicious.
If you are injured, report the problem to your manager right away. Most companies have a set protocol for handling workplace injuries which normally include filling out an accident form, taking pictures of the scene, and helping the injured employee seek medical assistance. Although you might feel silly mentioning a problem, these types of procedures can help to prove that your injury was related to your job, which will help you to receive the benefits that you need.
2: Changing Your Story
Sometimes it can be hard to tell the truth about workplace accidents, especially if you are only trying to protect other people. For example, if you were injured because of a mistake made by one of your favorite coworkers, you might be tempted to relay the details a little differently than they actually transpired. Unfortunately, even though you have good intentions, changing your story later won't help your worker's compensation claim.
Because some dishonest people commit worker's compensation fraud by claiming that they were injured at work just to receive benefits, chances are that your story will be checked and double-checked several times. Your employer and their insurance company might interview others who witnessed the accident, go over video surveillance footage, and carefully inspect the scene. If they spot inconsistencies with your story, it might make you look like you are completely fabricating the accident, even if you only swap out a few minor details.
In order to be taken seriously, bite the bullet and tell the truth. When you report your accident to your employer, be honest and as detailed as possible. If you issue a written statement, make sure to explain what you were doing, who you were working with, the instructions you were given, and what went wrong. If you are asked to explain the situation later, stick with the details that you gave initially. Staying consistent will help you to be taken seriously and to avoid allegations of fraud.
Knowing the right things to do after you get hurt on the job might help you to recover financially while you finish healing. Click here for more information about dealing with workers compensation.