If you suffer an injury at work—even if it seems too minor to worry about—you would be wise to take some important steps to ensure that you will be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits down the road if the injury worsens or other complications arise. Some common work-related injuries start as minor complaints and escalate into major debilitating conditions. Repetitive-use injuries, back problems, stress fractures, and hearing loss can all start with minor symptoms, but if you don’t report the problem and seek medical advice, you may ruin your chances of collecting workers’ comp as the condition worsens.
Don’t Make These Workplace Injury Mistakes
The key to a successful workers’ compensation claim is proving that you are legitimately injured or ill and that the injury or illness was caused by something in the workplace. The earlier you start documenting the incident and treating the injury, the easier your claim will be to prove later on. Things you do NOT want to do when you are hurt at work include:
- NOT documenting the accident. If a display falls on you, a piece of equipment cuts or crushes you, or you slip on a hazardous surface, take pictures of the scene and make a list of employees who witnessed the incident. Even if you do not feel that you are seriously hurt at the time of the incident, you may need proof that the accident occurred later on and evidence you have collected will be very useful.
- NOT reporting the incident. When an accident occurs in the workplace—even a seemingly minor one—you should report it to the appropriate supervisor. If you later find you have to prove that the incident that led to your injury actually occurred at work, there will be documentation. If an injury does not result from the incident, no harm is done.
- NOT seeking medical attention. Obviously, in an emergency situation, you will seek medical assistance immediately. However, even if the incident was minor and you don’t seem to be noticeably injured, stop by an urgent care clinic or make an appointment with your doctor for evaluation. It will be much harder to prove later on that you were hurt if there is no evidence that you sought medical treatment at the time of the accident.
- NOT taking it easy after an accident. Until you know for sure whether you have suffered an injury or not, take it easy after a workplace accident. Skip the gym, the family bike ride, or the pick-up basketball game for a couple of weeks. If an injury surfaces later that is connected to the accident at work, not only will these activities look suspicious to a workers’ comp investigator, they could further aggravate the injury.
- NOT calling a workers’ comp attorney. Your employer and their insurer may assure you that you do not need an attorney to represent you in a workers’ comp case, but if there is any question about the cause or severity of the injury or the amount the case is worth, you would be smart to protect your interests by calling an experienced workers’ comp law firm. With the help of an attorney, you can be sure your claim is filed right the first time and that you get maximum benefits as soon as possible.
Have You Been Injured On The Job?
If you've been hurt at work on the job in Kansas City you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.