Injured at Work? Here Are Your Next Steps

Even if your job is in a safe and secure environment, you could still suffer an accident at work. Job-related accidents range from minor scrapes and bruises to life-threatening injuries and illnesses. Almost 3 million job-related accidents occur in the United States each year. 

If you’ve suffered an accident at work, you can count on Jocelyn R. Idema, DO, and our team at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center to help you get the medical and legal care you need. We’re highly trained to diagnose, document, and treat your work-related injuries in full compliance with workers’ compensation laws. 

We follow specific guidelines to make sure your health and your rights are protected. But you also have a part to play in the process. Here’s what you need to do immediately following your work-related accident.

First aid comes first

You might associate work accidents with dangerous machinery or toxic chemicals. But on-the-job injuries and illnesses occur in the most mundane office spaces. 

Trips, slips, and falls account for the majority of office place mishaps, with culprits ranging from ripped carpets and loose electrical cords to wet floors. Work-related accidents are so common that someone is injured on the job every seven seconds

If you’re one of them, get help or self-administer first aid. If you’re cut and can bandage the wound, do it quickly to stop the bleeding. If you’ve fallen and can’t move, call for help, including an ambulance if necessary. 

Immobilize any sprained, strained, or broken limbs or joints. Use ice packs to reduce inflammation and pain. Go to the ER if necessary.

Tell your supervisor

Employers are required to provide benefits to employees who are injured at work, so don’t worry about your boss getting mad. Employers must carry a type of insurance called workers’ compensation. 

You’re entitled to thorough care paid for by your employer, even if the accident was your fault (as long as it wasn’t deliberate).

Once the immediate danger has passed, report your accident or illness to your supervisor. By law, your employer should have your rights posted in a prominent place. It’s important to formally report your accident and injury immediately, even if you think it’s no big deal.

Do the paperwork

After you’ve been injured — especially if you’re in pain or if the injury is serious — the last thing you want to do is deal with a mountain of paperwork. But you must file a couple of key documents in order to make a workers’ compensation claim. 

The workers’ compensation paperwork details information about the date, time, and circumstances of your injury. We fill out our portion of the paperwork so all of your injuries are documented. 

You may need help filling out your portion of your paperwork. Consult your union representative, if you have one, human resources, or a lawyer.   

Give yourself time to heal

A common mistake is downplaying an injury and choosing not to seek medical care. But when it comes to workers’ comp, seeking medical care is the best way to document and verify your injuries. 

Even if you feel fine, have a doctor look at that bump on your head, but not just any doctor. Check with your employer to get a list of local approved physicians to make sure you comply with state law.

Some people worry that if their wound heals or they overcome their illness, they won’t be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. That’s not true. 

You must seek the medical attention you need right away. If it’s an emergency, go straight to the ER or an urgent care facility. After that, see a doctor from your employer’s list, and do all you can to take care of yourself and get better.

Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center is qualified to treat work-related injuries. We also thoroughly examine you and document all possible conditions that might worsen with time. 

For instance, whiplash — a neck injury — often doesn’t cause symptoms for months, but our diagnostic procedures identify it early.

If you’re injured, feel overwhelmed, or need a qualified workers’ comp medical team, contact us today by phone or online request form, and put your worries behind you. We have offices in Pittsburgh, McKees Rocks, and Washington, Pennsylvania.

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