The average person may not know exactly what constitutes a work-related injury, but it is important to be aware of the signs. Workplace injuries are concerning for both employees and employers because they can result in serious medical concerns, financial trouble, and even legal problems. While many people will struggle through an injury without reporting it, this is often unwise. For those who are injured, it is important to understand what they can do to prove liability.
1. What Is A Work-Related Injury
A workplace injury occurs when an employee suffers physical or mental harm while on the job. The types of injuries that occur in the workplace may be numerous. However, there are some common examples that people should be aware of.
Some injuries may occur because of workplace conditions, such as dangerous machinery or chemical exposure. It is also possible to sustain an injury if a co-worker fails to follow procedures or treats the person in a harmful manner. The harm done can be minor or traumatic, and it can result in anything from a minor physical problem to a permanent disability.
2. Consult An Expert
One of the first things that injured employees should do is consult an expert. A lawyer will review the case and determine if it warrants further action. It may be possible to avoid filing a lawsuit under certain circumstances, which could save both the company and the individual time, money, and effort.
It can be tempting to go to a friend or a relative that has experience with legal matters for advice, but this is not recommended. Even if they are great at what they do, the law is technical and it is best to go with established personal injury lawyers because they specialize in this particular area. These types of cases can be complicated, and a lawyer will have the knowledge needed to fight for the best possible outcome.
It’s also a good idea to find a lawyer from your area. This ensures that they understand the laws of your state, which can affect legislation. While sometimes this information is included in their online biographies, it is often more beneficial to ask directly either via email or phone call.
3. Seek Medical Attention
Even if an injury appears minor at first, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. By visiting a doctor early on, the individual can establish evidence in case they need to file a legal claim for compensation. For example, if the doctor states that an individual needs surgery or will have chronic pain later on, this can strengthen their case because it shows how serious the injury is.
It’s important to know which type of medical attention an individual needs, so they should consider contacting their insurance company to verify what type of care is covered under the policy. In order to avoid malpractice, a doctor may not treat an individual if they don’t have all of this information. The last thing anyone wants is to go through an extensive surgery if it isn’t necessary or end up with a huge bill that could have been avoided.
Most people are aware of doctor’s notes, but it may be surprising to some that they are important in personal injury cases as well. These documents help to establish that the individual was seen by a doctor and that they suffered harm because of their job.
4. Keep Accurate Records
It is important to document the injury and the events that surround it as thoroughly as possible. This will make it easier to prove liability if a lawsuit is necessary, or it can be helpful information if the case goes directly to court. The more information about the incident that can be provided, the better.
In order to keep accurate records, one should start by recording the date and time of the incident. Focusing on smaller details is also important. For example, it may not seem significant that a person was standing in a particular place when an injury occurred, but it can be used as evidence later if they were standing near hazardous equipment or chemicals.
It’s also important to save any paperwork related to the injury, such as doctor’s notes. This information should be stored in a safe place so it can’t be destroyed or misplaced if there is an investigation later on. One should consider keeping this information together with other personal documents as well as important files, such as birth certificates and social security cards.
5. Seek Damages
The time following an injury can be difficult because individuals may not know what they should do next or how to find a lawyer. However, it should be noted that it is possible to seek damages even if the incident wasn’t the other party’s fault.
One option is known as workers’ compensation, which is meant to provide financial support during recovery. Workers’ compensation can cover medical bills and pay up to two-thirds of wages. Another option is known as a personal injury where one files a suit against another individual or company. Individuals will need to prove that the other party was negligent in some way and that this negligence led to an accident.
While these two options are significantly different, it may be possible to file a combination of the two claims if applicable. For example, if one is filing workers’ compensation but believes that the employer may have been negligent as well, this information can be added to their personal injury claim.
6. Talk To Witnesses
Talking to witnesses may be scary, but it’s important because their recollection of the event can help to prove liability. If an investigation is taking place, these individuals may have already been contacted and asked for a statement.
It’s worth noting that some states don’t require employers to report work-related injuries, so if a person wasn’t on-site when the injury occurred, they may want to still talk to them. This is because it can be helpful when gathering information about safety policies and procedures that were in place at the time of the incident.
Liability can be complicated, but it is possible to prove that the other party should accept some of the blame. This is especially true if there has been a documented work-related injury or someone else witnessed what happened. It can be easy to feel alone or confused following an incident, but it’s important to seek damages as well as take steps to protect oneself.