When a workplace accident happens that leaves you seriously injured, one of the first concerns you might have is how to make ends meet financially while you recover. Medical costs can add up quickly and the possibility of being unable to work even temporarily can exacerbate financial concerns.
Workers’ compensation can provide the necessary financial resources you need during this time. But, the process to recover workers’ compensation can become complicated depending on the steps you take following an accident. If you are hurt on the job, here are four things you need to do right away:
1. Inform your employer
This is one of the most important things you should do after your workplace accident. While Maryland laws provide a 10-day window to notify your employer of the accident, generally the sooner the better is advisable. Notify your Supervisor immediately after an injury.
Waiting too long may raise doubts about the circumstances that led to your accident since your employer may claim that you were injured off duty. In addition, you may forget crucial details about your accident, which can be critical to your claim. Seeking medical attention will likely take precedence in the event that you need emergency care, but informing your employer as soon as possible is important as quickly as you are able.
2. Document your accident
If possible, collect as much evidence as you can about what happened. The information listed below is crucial in supporting your workers’ compensation claim:
- What you were doing when the accident happened
- Photos of your injuries
- The date and time of the incident
- Statements from colleagues who witnessed the accident
- Who from the Employer, did you notify and when?
Providing vague or insufficient information, combined with little documentation, can delay your claim or even result in a denial. While appealing a denial is possible, it is much more efficient to provide the necessary information upfront and be as thorough as you can be.
3. Seek medical attention
Seeking medical attention is also an important part of workplace accident claims. A doctor will formally document the nature of your injuries and their extent. They will also determine whether you can continue working in your condition, all of which is vital to your claim.
Seeking immediate medical care might be obvious in a situation where the injuries are apparent or catastrophic, like falling on a construction site or a forklift injury at a manufacturing facility. However, sometimes the extent of your injuries might not be immediately apparent. If you were involved in a workplace accident, it is advisable to seek medical care to document your injury and your ability to return to work. Some conditions take hours or even a few days to surface and a doctor’s opinion is necessary to causally relate your injury and ability to work to the work injury alleged, as well as the need for further treatment.
4. File a claim
You also need to file a claim with the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission. The claim must be filed within 60 days or risk a dismissal unless there are compelling reasons which prevent you from doing so. The sooner a Claim is filed the sooner benefits can be claimed from the Workers’ Compensation Insurer.
Getting the compensation you deserve
It is always advisable to seek help rather than go it alone, especially if you are unsure of what you need to do. Any mistakes in your paperwork or missing any of these steps could harm your claim or cause unnecessary delays. It may be beneficial for the injured worker to seek legal advice from an attorney with experience in Workers’ Compensation.