Critical Steps to Take With a Work Injury

Leg and yellow helmet of injured lying worker at work.

Work Injury Benefits

The last thing most people expect to happen is being injured in the workplace. People’s attention and expectations for the day are typically focused on meetings, tasks, deadlines, and team projects, not on planning how to stabilize and recover from a personal injury. As a result, injuries are often chaotic surprises where many feel they have no viable way of dealing with what’s happening and everything is out of control, frequently involving decisions being made by other people about one’s self as well.

Then, after the fact, when a person is trying to pick up the pieces, he or she feels personally stuck with how things ended up and ashamed to question what happened. It doesn’t have to be this way however. Personal injuries at work involve responsibilities and protections that every employee is entitled to benefit from. However, awareness is a key difference between those who get those benefits and those who do not.

Before the Injury

As soon as a person is employed, he or she should have the employer’s workers’ compensation contacts if available, the employee health insurance benefits provided, and personal emergency contacts. Many employers are smart enough to ask and put the contact info in a personnel file, but that doesn’t mean the floor supervisor gets the same information. Employees who keep an extra file with a loved one or close friend often have an advocate they can rely on to coordinate immediate decisions if they cannot.

During the Injury

When hurt and needing medical help, the focus should be on getting medical treatment as quickly as possible. Who will pay and how it is addressed can be dealt with later. Serious injuries and conditions often become worse if treatment and care are delayed worrying about bureaucratic matters, particularly cardiac conditions, and stroke. The attention should be on stabilizing the injury, calling for first responder help, and getting the employee to a medical center as quickly as possible.

After the Injury 

When the injury is stabilized and treatment is now being applied to begin the healing process, the employee who was injured can now begin focusing on what needs to be done for recovery. Ideally, the employer will have a contact available and the employer’s worker’s compensation plan and health plan should be kicking in.

That said, more could be involved as well as long-term recovery needs, which are usually not covered by basic employer plans. In these instances, the employee should be consulting with a personal injury attorney. Even if there is no intention to sue, it is extremely beneficial to have a second set of eyes on what’s provided for recovery to confirm it is adequate. Not having a professional check could literally be leaving benefits and help on the table and at the detriment of the employee.