What to Do After an Industrial Accident
Updated: Nov 10
Industrial workplaces are dangerous, and many more accidents take place there than in the average workplace. It’s a place where you have to be constantly aware of your surroundings, careful in all your work, or the consequences could be devastating.
But in the event that all goes wrong and you wind up in an industrial accident, there are steps you should follow--things that you should memorize, because in the heat of the moment you won’t have time to look up a checklist. Follow these steps and you’ll be in a better situation:
Report the Accident
No matter the seriousness of the injury--small or big--get someone to report the accident. Not only will this get emergency medical teams on the way if needed, but it does something bigger, too: it starts a paper trail. As soon as your supervisor is aware of the accident, there are legal things that they need to do. Sure, when you cut your hand or twist your ankle you may not be thinking you’ll ever need Workers’ Compensation or litigation, but you just might, and getting a record started of when you alerted your superiors to your injury is the first step in making sure this happens.
Get Medical Help
Make sure that you get the help you need. Don’t be a tough guy and say you can walk it off. If you need stitches, get stitches. If you need an ankle brace, get an ankle brace. And if, God forbid, you need something more serious, then you need to get that medical attention right away to make sure that you’re being treated by professionals. Be aware that you legally don’t have to accept the company’s doctor--you can see your own doctor if you prefer. Don’t be bullied into thinking that the accident is minor until you’ve been checked out by an independent specialist.
Understand the Statute of Limitations
Depending on the nature of your claim and the state you live in, the statute of limitations for Workers Compensation is different. Maybe you’ve hurt your back but you think you can muscle through it and it doesn’t get bad for a number of weeks. Be aware that in some places the statute of limitations for reporting a workers’s compensation claim can be as low as 30 to 60 days.
Never Admit Fault
Just as you’ve started a paper trail when you’ve contacted your supervisor, they’ve started a paper trail, too. And if you are lying on the floor saying “this is my own stupid fault” it might just seem like words to you, but it might be an admission of guilt to your boss. And that may affect both your Workers Compensation claim and any further-down-the-road personal injury claims.
Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions
You may be a tough guy, but you need to do what the doctor says. If he wants you on crutches, then get on crutches. This isn’t just for your health, but for your livelihood. If you’re supposed to be on crutches and you stop using them, your employer could say you were faking the injury. Or, if the problem gets worse after you’ve stopped using the crutches, the employer could say it’s your own fault for not following doctors’ orders.
Contact an Attorney
Get an attorney involved, even if the injury seems minor. Your company doesn’t want to pay out a big claim and so their insurance company has lawyers working for them. You should have lawyers working for you from Day One. They can guide you through all the steps--you can bet they know the Workers Compensation laws, and they also know when you’re a good candidate for a personal injury suit. Remember: there are other lawyers already working against you; get one on your side. If you need help in other areas, explore all the clients we represent, even in consumer protection cases!