Workplace Injury: What to Do Immediately Afterward?
A workplace injury is as unpredictable as the lottery. When you think of places where you could have an accident, your workplace rarely comes to mind. However, many individuals get into mishaps at work, and some even lose their lives. Employers do their best to make the workplace safe for everyone, but unfortunately, accidents happen. When it does, contact a Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.7 million non-fatal workplace injuries in 2020. With more than 157 million Americans in the workforce, approximately two percent of working Americans either get injured or fall ill yearly.
Sustaining an injury or falling ill affects the business owner and worker. The employee loses time from work, which results in lost wages, while the employer sees productivity decline.
American labor laws protect employees by requiring employers to provide their workers with an insurance plan. This is called workers’ compensation and mandates employers to provide benefits for employees who fall ill or get injured due to the job. To get these benefits, you must take some steps, and we cover them in this article.
Common Causes of a Workplace Injury
A workplace injury may vary, but they are often affected by the working conditions. For example, a banker is less likely to experience a broken back from carrying heavy objects than someone who works in the manufacturing industry.
So it’s not surprising that some of the most common sectors for injuries are manufacturing, agriculture, construction, forestry, education, and health services. Below are some common causes of injuries in the workplace.
Slip and Falls
Slips and falls are a common cause of accidents anywhere, and the workplace is not exempt. Slips and falls at work occur from poor lighting, wet or oily surfaces, uneven walking surfaces, cluttered workspaces, and weather hazards.
Injuries resulting from slips and falls include broken bones, neck injuries, back injuries, and bruises. Fortunately, injuries from this accident can be prevented by cleaning up spills, keeping the floors dry, and decluttering the workspace.
When workers are exposed to electrical appliances, they risk getting electrocuted. The extent of such injuries is usually challenging to determine and could include cardiac arrest, burns, and nerve damage.
Violent altercations between employees frequently cause workplace injuries. Employees, especially those who deal directly with customers or vendors, may also fight with them or get attacked.
Falling From Heights
Construction workers are the most common victims of such injuries, with 42% of construction worker deaths caused by falls. Falling from a height could be caused by poorly built structures or the failure of a worker to observe safety practices. Apart from death, falling from heights could lead to brain injuries or other severe injuries. Therefore, care should be taken to protect employees from falls.
The nature of work in some industries means that employees are likely to carry heavy objects. Such tasks could result in injuries such as torn muscles or sore tendons. Employees must know the best way to lift things without harming themselves, although some injuries result from accumulated exertion.
A Columbus Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Discusses the Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury
As we stated earlier, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you get injured at work. Unfortunately, it is not always automatic. Therefore, you must know the steps to take after a workplace injury. Failure to do the right thing could affect your workers’ compensation benefits.
Like any other injury, your priority after a workplace accident wound should be to get help. This could be calling emergency services or seeing a doctor. See to it that you do this as soon as possible. You may be tempted to skip this step if the injury seems minor, but you never know when a minor wound may lead to severe complications.
Report the Injury to Your Employer
Report the workplace injury to your employer as soon as you can. This is regardless of how minor you think it is. You must do this within 72 hours of the injury, or you may have a massive battle on your hands trying to file a workers’ compensation claim.
When making the report, get a written record as proof. Most employers will require you to fill out a form, but if they don’t, you should insist on doing so. In addition to providing proof that you filed a claim, reporting a workplace injury to your employer allows them to prevent future occurrences.
Document Your Injury
While not all employers will do this, be prepared to have your employer try to get out of paying your benefits. Even when they do not do this, their insurance company could attempt to discredit or devalue your claims. When this happens, your best rebuttal is to present evidence that your accident account is accurate.
Most of the early documentation will be done by you, so take as many pictures and videos of your injury as possible. This is also why you should visit a doctor after your injury. Share as many details about your injury with the doctor. This would help them document properly and provide more proof when filing a claim.
Hire a Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer should not be something you do as a last resort. Having a lawyer with you from the start will significantly boost your chances of getting a settlement. Ensure you pick a lawyer with lots of experience. They will be able to draw on this experience when working on your case.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation in Ohio?
Some people spend a lot of time considering whether they should file a workers’ compensation claim. But, unfortunately, by the time they get around to it, it might be too late. Like with other cases, there’s a time limit for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
This is called the Statute of Limitations. In Ohio, the Statute of Limitations for workers’ compensation is one year. Such a short time makes it vital that you file your claim early, or you may not get the benefits you deserve.
An Experienced Columbus Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help You
An injury at work can be devastating. In addition to the pain, you may have to take some time off work to heal. Ideally, your employer should pay your benefits as soon as you file a claim. However, that does not always happen, and you may need a workers’ compensation attorney to help you get your settlement.
Ohio Workers’ Compensation Lawyers will help you gather evidence that proves your claim and get a maximum settlement. We offer a free initial consultation for prospective clients, so contact a personal injury lawyer in Columbus to learn more about our services.