Being hurt at work can be more than painful. In addition to dealing with cuts, falls, or abrasions, you might also be embarrassed or frustrated about your accident—which might prompt you to be inconspicuous. However, these two mistakes could cost you your personal injury lawsuit, if you ever choose to file one:
1: Taking Your Time To Report Injuries
Getting smacked in the head with that box made for a good laugh, which is why you might be nervous about whining about the accident to your employer. Some employees choose to save face by hiding injuries, even if they are in serious pain during their shifts. Unfortunately, most employers issue deadlines for reporting accidents and filing personal injury lawsuits, which might mean that waiting could cost you a lot of money.
For example, one Kentucky worker was struck in the shin by a crate coming down a chute while he was at work. The incident didn't seem like a big deal at first, which is why the employee decided not to say anything. The small welt on the employee's leg quickly turned into a giant black and blue bruise, and then within two months it transitioned into a large boil. The employee eventually decided to see a wound specialist to treat the injury and to report the accident to his employer. Unfortunately, because the employee didn't report the incident immediately, his employer refused his worker's compensation claim, and a local court upheld the decision.
If you are hurt at work, excuse yourself and report the accident to upper management right away. Fill out an accident report and ask for a copy. If you aren't sure how badly you are hurt, ask to go home for the day to care for your injuries. If you decide to file a worker's compensation claim in the future, you will be able to prove that you reported the accident and that you weren't well enough to work.
2: Settling With Your Employer On Your Own
After spending years building close relationships with your coworkers, managers, and company owners, you might be hesitant to get a third party involved. Instead of working with a lawyer, you might be tempted to work with your employer to handle expenses tied to the accident—especially if the settlement seems generous. Unfortunately, unless you moonlight as a personal injury attorney, you might not be prepared to handle negotiations on your own.
The fact of the matter is that few people realize just how much a single accident can cost. In addition to upfront medical bills and time away from work, you might also struggle with long-term, debilitating injuries that follow you around for the rest of your life. If you settle on your own, you might miss out on funds that you need to handle your recovery. However, lawyers understand what to ask for, how to ask for it, and how to make sure that your employer pays.
With the help of an attorney, you might be able to file a successful lawsuit that will help you to cover all of your damages. In fact, most personal injury settlements equate to between 1.5 and 5 times your total medical expenses, which is then added to the sum total of your missed income. For example, if you were hurt at work and accrued $3,000 worth of medical expenses, and if you missed $2,000 worth of missed shifts, an attorney might be able to get you between $6,500 and $17,000—enough money to make things right.
By being upfront about your injuries and seeking counsel early, you might be able to streamline the process so that you can focus on your recovery. Talk to an attorney from a firm like Hardee and Hardee LLP for more information.