It’s easy to get into a daily routine at work. You come in at the same time every day and morning rituals lead you through the workday quickly. When an accident suddenly happens in the middle of your routine it can be especially jarring. After being suddenly shaken from your routine you might not know the right things to do or say. It is important to be careful about your actions after an injury because you could be putting yourself at risk for paying medical bills yourself and losing a workers’ compensation claim. Just make sure to never do the following after an accident at work:
1. Wait to tell your employer
Often employees will wait to see if their injury gets better before notifying their employer because they feel embarrassed or do not want to bother their boss. Never wait to tell your employer about an injury. It can indicate that you are not serious about your injury. In Colorado you have to report an injury in writing to your boss within four days. If you do not follow this deadline then you could get your benefits reduced for tardiness or even lose the claim all together.
2. Wait to see a physician
As a kid you may have been told to just “walk off” your injury, but as an adult an injury can have a much bigger and longer lasting effect. If you suspect you have been hurt at work then immediately get checked out by a physician. The doctor will record the entire incident and that report will make up an essential aspect of your workers’ compensation claim. You might worry about the medical bills but if your claim is approved they can be covered.
3. Tell inconsistent stories
After an accident your mind is racing to keep up with what just happened. It is easy to get confused. Allow yourself some time to go over the events in your mind. If you call your boss and tell them what happened in a panic and then tell the doctor a different story at the hospital then you could get a workers’ compensation claim denied. It indicates that you might not be telling the truth about what happened. Make sure to keep all your accounts of the incident consistent.
4. Visit the wrong doctor
By law your employer can recommend a list of physicians which you should choose from after a workplace accident. You must go to your employer’s designated doctors in order for medical bills to qualify for coverage under workers’ compensation. Regular health insurance will not cover work related injuries.
It is also important to keep a skeptical eye on how the doctor assesses your injury. Remember that this doctor works with your employer’s insurance company on a regular basis and if they oppose the insurer often then they may get dropped from the list designated doctors. It is possible that the designated doctor might minimize your injuries for their own benefit. If you suspect this is the case then opt for a second opinion from your own doctor, even if the visit bill is not covered.
5. Be unorganized with your bills
Depending upon the severity of the accident you might have lots of different appointments and expenses. It is important to keep a record of all of your injury expenses and to have copies of the bills. Keep a small folder with all the documentation. Workers’ compensation can cover the costs of hospital bills, physical therapy, chiropractic appointments, and more. If you lose proof of bills then they might not cover the expense for you.
6. Ignore your mental health
Accidents can be terrifying and change your entire way of life. Not only can the event itself be traumatic but you will not be able to attend work for a period of time. Long days spent in bed can lead to depression. Mounting bills can lead to anxiety. Understand that it is perfectly normal to feel anxious or sad after an accident. Do not ignore your mental health because it is just as important as physical health. See a physician or therapist about how you are feeling and keep records of the bills and cost of any medication. You might be able to include the costs into your workers’ compensation claim.
Often times your employer and their insurance company will try to give you the smallest claim possible. It is important to consider hiring an experienced attorney to help support your workers’ compensation claim.