Whether your line of work has a lot of potential health or safety hazards or whether it seems particularly innocuous, it’s vital that you know how to report an workplace injury accident since there are many types of accidents that can happen to anyone anywhere anytime. All work environments should have a plan of action in place that all employees are familiar with so that when emergencies arise, everyone is prepared to take whatever measures are necessary.
The first thing to do in all emergencies should be to seek medical attention if necessary (by dialing 9-11.) If you’re on the fence about whether or not your injury is serious enough to warrant a 9-11 call or hospital trip, you would still do best to seek some kind of medical care just in case since the “fight-or-flight” adrenaline surge that your brain releases in response to many injuries or accidents can serve as a powerful painkiller and distract you from the severity of the work injury. If your workplace employs someone with first aid experience or some other kind of medical background, they might be a good resource for you. That said, if you think you might be hurt, make sure to seek outside medical attention rather than any kind of company physician–since these may be biased towards treatment outcomes that diminish workplace liability.
If you do seek medical assistance, you will need to obtain the following information from your care provider: the long-term prognosis in terms of surgery or disability, whether or not you will need to miss work and if so for how long, whether or not Workers’ Compensation will apply to your medical bills.
Secondly, if you’re able and it’s necessary, make sure to secure and isolate the area of the accident so that no one else from your place of employment is at risk to the type of injury you incurred. It also may be important for you to keep the area in its current condition so that evidence can be collected to determine fault for the injury. Related to this, it is advisable to identify any and all witnesses to the accident and take down their contact information in case it becomes necessary to take legal action against your place of employment.
You or your employer should also make sure to fill out any and all relevant injury paperwork and report the incident to OSHA (the Occupational Health & Safety Administration.) Please note that OSHA requires that all work-related hospitalizations, amputations, or incidents involving the loss of an eye must be reported within 24 hours and that all fatal workplace accidents be reported within 8 hours. Regardless of whether or not these policies apply to your situation, you would be best suited to report the injury and fill out any and all paperwork for accidents that involve you or your colleagues ASAP while the details are still fresh in your mind.
You will also want to research whatever Workers’ Compensation benefits you may be entitled to by contacting your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurer. Many of these will apply once you have been unable to work for seven days (make sure to request that your Workers’ Compensation benefits be started by the eighth day after the accident.) If benefits have not begun by this time, you will need to make sure to file the LDOL-WC-1008 “Claim for Compensation” form. You will most likely be entitled to payments on your medical bills and weekly benefits of two-thirds of your gross weekly wage. If you are not receiving these benefits, make sure to contact us, your Tacoma personal injury attorney, immediately.
The following documentation will be particularly helpful in any that could lawsuits arise: medical bills, doctors’ reports, admit and ER charts, radiology reports, statements given to you by your employer or insurer, witness statements, wage records or stubs, correspondence between the insurance company and Workers’ Compensation Commission, etc.
In addition to collecting the above evidence, make sure to NEVER: sign any releases, be convinced not to report the accident, give recorded statements to your company or other third parties, cave into pressure from your employer to take any kind of action that may not be in your best interest, or make any kind of indication that you will settle your case until you have medically stabilized and spoken to a Tacoma personal injury attorney. Because your employer will likely try to persuade you to take these kinds of action, it is highly advisable that you contact your Tacoma personal injury attorney as soon as you’ve medically stabilized.
Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel has the experience, resources, and proven track record to handle the most challenging workplace injury cases. We have successfully represented seriously injured workers in cases against contractors who ignored state and federal safety regulations, property owners who failed to provide safe work sites, equipment manufacturers who designed and produced faulty or defective equipment, and other negligent companies and individuals who have caused serious injury to workers.