When you suffer an on the job injury, there are steps that will need to be taken to help ensure your workers’ compensation claim is successful. Likewise, there are actions that can interfere with compensation, serving to slow or eventually result in the denial of a claim.
One of the most important “dos” following a workplace injury is talking to an attorney. This conversation should be free of both cost and obligation, and can help shed light on some of the more complex aspects of workers’ compensation in North Carolina. Meeting with an attorney can also help you better understand your rights, your options, and the best way to get the compensation you will need in order to recover and get back to work.
What to Do After an On the Job Injury
When you are injured on the job, it is important that you:
- Report the accident to your employer - this should be done as soon as possible. Waiting to report on an accident can weaken your claim and delay the workers’ compensation process. Be sure to get a copy of the report from your supervisor.
- Seek medical treatment - your employer may provide you with a list of doctors who have been approved to treat injured employees. Visit your top choice as soon as possible. You will need a medical diagnosis to continue with your claim.
Please remember: you are entitled to a second opinion. If you disagree with the original diagnosis, you have the right to select another doctor from your employer's list for additional evaluation.
- Save all documentation - any paperwork provided by your employer, any medical records that can be obtained from your doctor, anything at all related to your accident and injury should be kept. This information may prove to be useful when you begin the process of seeking workers’ compensation.
- Speak to an attorney - while workers’ compensation is a no-fault program designed to help injured workers recover, issues can arise during the claims process that may see compensation delayed or denied. One of the ways to help avoid these common issues is by working with an attorney before you file a claim.
- Take action - whether it’s filing a workers’ compensation claim or seeking compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, it is important that you take action to secure the compensation you will need during the recovery period.
In some cases, a third-party may be liable for your accident. When this happens, you may be entitled to seek compensation beyond the offerings of workers’ comp through a personal injury lawsuit. During your complimentary consultation with one of the workers’ compensation lawyers at White & Stradley, we can help you determine the best course of action in your situation.
What Not to Do After an On the Job Injury
Equally important to what you do following workplace injury is what you do not do. Some things may work to sabotage your claim and can make receiving fair compensation very difficult. A workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to help you avoid some missteps, oversights, and wrong moves, but even the best attorney may not be able to help when poor decisions have seriously complicated a claim.
After you have been injured, do not:
- Wait to report your injury - any delay may provide your employer and their insurance company fodder for denial.
- Sign anything - until you have spoken with an attorney, do not sign anything given to you by your employer or an insurance adjuster.
- Talk to an adjuster - unless your attorney is present, you should not talk with an insurance adjuster.
- Accept a settlement - even if a cash settlement looks good, if it is being offered in lieu of workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim, you should discuss it with an attorney before accepting it.
- Return to work without doctor approval - workers’ compensation is designed to provide benefits until you have reached maximum medical improvement. Do not return to work before you have been given the go-ahead by your doctor.
You want an attorney on your side, even when a workplace injury is mild. If you will be required to miss work due to your injury, you may be entitled to compensation, but several parties may try to prevent you from getting the compensation you are due. A workers’ comp lawyer will help protect you against these interests while doing everything necessary to help you get the compensation you are entitled to.
Contact White & Stradley
White & Stradley, PLLC is one of North Carolina’s most respected workers’ compensation law firms. Located in Raleigh, our workers’ comp attorneys serve Charlotte, Greenville and surrounding communities, as well as the state at large. If you live in North Carolina and have suffered an injury at work, we are here to help. Call us at 919-863-9397 to schedule a complimentary consultation and learn more.