Injured at Work? Here’s What You Should Do
Getting injured at work can be stressful and overwhelming, but knowing what to do after an accident is essential. The steps you take immediately after an injury can significantly impact your recovery and ability to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.
This blog will outline the steps you should take if you get injured at work, from seeking medical attention to informing your employer and filing a workers' compensation claim in New York. Understanding the appropriate steps to take can help you get the medical care you need and protect your rights to compensation.
Immediate Steps After a Workplace Accident
The period after a workplace injury is incredibly important. It is during this time that you must seek medical help and gather evidence to support a claim. Documentation is crucial as it provides professional verification of an injury and long-term care.
If you have been injured at work, you must complete the following steps as soon as possible:
- Seek Medical Attention: Your health is paramount. If you are injured, seek medical help immediately. Even if the injury seems minor, it is important to get checked out by a medical professional. They can provide an official record of your injury, which can be essential for your workers' compensation claim.
- Notify Your Supervisor: Report the incident to your supervisor as soon as possible. Make sure to provide a detailed account of what happened, including the date, time, location, and any potential witnesses. Your employer is required by law to report workplace injuries to their insurance carrier within 10 days.
- Document the Incident: Make sure to keep detailed records of the accident, including the date, time, location, and how it occurred. Also, gather contact information for any witnesses who can corroborate your account of the incident.
- File a Workers' Compensation Claim: In New York, workers' compensation is a no-fault system that provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. You must file a claim with the New York State Workers' Compensation Board (WCB).
- Consult an Attorney: While New York workers' compensation laws are designed to provide benefits to injured workers, the process can sometimes be complex. Consulting with an experienced workers' compensation attorney can ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.
Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim
After addressing your immediate health needs and notifying your employer, the next step is to file a workers' compensation claim. In New York, depending on the injury, you have up to two years from the date of the injury to file a claim.
The claims process generally follows this process:
- Completion of Form C-3: To initiate a claim, you need to complete and submit Form C-3, Employee Claim, to the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. This form includes details about you, your employer, and the incident.
- Insurance Carrier Investigation: Once the claim is filed, the insurance carrier will investigate to verify the accident's details.
- Decision on Claim: The insurance carrier must decide to accept or contest the claim within 18 days of receiving Form C-3.
Challenges in Pursuing a Claim
You may encounter challenges while pursuing a workers' compensation or personal injury claim. The insurance carrier might dispute your eligibility, arguing that your injury is not work-related or that you are not covered under workers' compensation laws. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal. You will need to request a hearing before a workers' compensation law judge, who will review the case and make a decision.
It is also important to note that all cases are different and depending on the circumstances, a different process may be necessary. For example, in some cases, you might be eligible to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a third party (not your employer or coworker) whose negligence contributed to the accident. This could be a manufacturer of defective equipment or a contractor responsible for maintaining the premises.
One of the most important challenges surrounding workers’ compensation cases is keeping up with the statute of limitations. In New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims ranges between 90 days to two years depending on the injury. If you file a claim too late, you may not get the compensation and closure you need.
Moving Forward After Resolution
Once your claim is resolved and you have started receiving benefits, it is time to consider the next steps. If you can return to work safely, coordinate with your employer and medical provider to develop a suitable plan. If returning to your previous role is not feasible due to your injury, you may need to consider vocational rehabilitation services or explore other employment options.
Navigating a workplace injury and a workers' compensation claim can be complex and challenging. However, understanding your rights and the process can help ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to under the law. The most important step you can take when pursuing workers’ compensation for an injury is contacting a qualified and empathetic legal advocate.
For legal support regarding your workplace injury, contact the Law Office of Seni Popat, P.C.