Unfortunately, workplace injuries are common across the United States, and they can occur for a number of reasons. If you’ve recently been injured at work, or you’re starting a new job and just want to be prepared for if the worst ever did happen, then this guide is for you. Not only will we be discussing the most common causes of workplace accidents, but we’ll also be bringing you a 5-step guide for what to do if you find yourself injured at work.
Common Causes of Workplace Accidents
Workplace accidents in the US are more common than you might think, with over 2.6 million cases of injury in 2021. Of these, 5,190 were fatal, so it’s vital that risks in the workplace are taken seriously. Some of the most common causes of workplace accidents include:
- Trips and falls
- Incorrect lifting technique
- Faulty or malfunctioning equipment
- Employee fatigue
No matter the cause of an accident, if you’ve been injured then there are a number of things that you should do in the aftermath, especially if your injury is serious. This will give you increased flexibility around what you want to do next, such as filing a claim for compensation.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured at Work
Knowing exactly what to do if you’ve been involved in an accident at work that’s resulted in injury can be the difference between receiving the compensation you’re entitled to and missing out entirely. Follow these five steps after your injury, and you can set yourself up for a successful recovery.
Step 1: Seek Medical Attention
After any accident, you should seek medical attention, but it’s even more important to do this following a workplace incident. Not only will a doctor be able to advise whether you need further assistance or some time off, but they’ll also be able to accurately record your injuries, which will be a useful addition to your evidence in the case of a legal claim. If you need to return to the doctor following your initial visit, make a note of each appointment date and reason.
Step 2: Report the Accident to Your Manager
As soon as possible, you should report the accident to your manager after it occurs. This will not only let you provide your perception of what happened, but it also gives the organization a chance to review their practices and put preventions in place for similar occurrences.
Your manager should record the accident in a dedicated logbook, so make sure that this has been done. Some managers can be reluctant to record accidents, as this can impact business targets to reduce injuries in the workplace. However, having a written record of what happened and how you were injured will be vital to your case in court, so push your manager to record it. If they still refuse, send them an email to report your injury, and consider escalating the issue to their line manager.
Step 3: Gather Documentation
Before you can claim compensation for your workplace injury, you’ll need to gather all the documentation that you have relating to it, such as doctors’ records, copies of written statements and photographs of the incident. Photographic and video evidence will form a key part of your case, especially if your injury has been caused by malfunctioning equipment.
Step 4: Note Down Any Financial Losses
As part of the documentation gathering process, you should take some time to note down any financial losses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. While the financial impact of what happened might not be immediately obvious, you can actually suffer some serious economic damage if you’ve been injured at work. For example:
- If you need time off work, you might lose a big chunk of your usual salary or pay.
- You might be unable to rearrange a pre-booked holiday that you now cannot attend due to your injury.
- Spending more time at home, especially if you require medical equipment that uses mains electricity, means you may see your utility bills soar.
- You might also have an increased travel cost resulting from extra trips to the doctor or physiotherapist.
When it comes to claiming compensation, the clearest picture of financial loss that you can provide, the better.
Step 5: Find a Workplace Injury Lawyer
The type of law that each lawyer practices will vary, so finding a professional who can win your case means seeking out someone with direct experience in workplace injury. For instance, malfunctioning equipment attorneys such as Romanucci & Blandin will be best placed to help you if your injury came about as a consequence of an equipment problem that wasn’t your fault.
Being involved in an accident at work can be lifechanging, especially if you’re left with a permanent injury, so getting the compensation you are entitled to can help you to reclaim your life and get back on track. Whether you’re staying with your existing employer or looking for an alternative career, following these steps after an accident at work will ensure that you’re giving yourself the best chance possible to get back on track.