Nearly three million workers experienced non-fatal injuries in their workplaces in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. After being injured on the job, it’s important to understand your rights as a worker and the steps to take if you plan to file a workers’ compensation claim.
What Should an Injured Worker Do?
Every Rhode Island employer with one or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which is a no-fault insurance designed to help workers with injury-related costs such as medical expenses and lost wages. After you’ve been injured at work or become sick because of your job, you should:
- Seek immediate medical attention. It’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible after an injury. At your appointment, be sure to mention every detail of your injury, so your doctor has accurate medical records. Also, remember that you are not required to see a doctor approved by your employer; you are allowed to visit your regular primary physician even if he is not in your employer’s insurance network. Additionally, if your injury keeps you from working for three or more consecutive full-time days or warrants medical attention, your employer is required to file a report within 10 days of the incident.
- Report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. Be sure to tell your employer you’ve been injured and intend to file a workers’ compensation claim, even if the injury seems unimportant or you’re uncertain if the injury is covered under Rhode Island workers’ comp. Some injuries worsen over time and may need treatment later on.
- File a workers’ compensation claim. It is the responsibility of your employer to submit a claim to the company’s insurance carrier. Rhode Island has a strict statute of limitations on workers’ comp claims, so it’s important that you make sure your employer submits a claim within 10 days after the accident occurs. To ensure accuracy and completeness, it would be wise to speak with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer before submitting the claim.
Document the Incident Well
After you’ve been injured on the job, take great care to create a detailed record of the incident immediately. Not only will this help you submit an accurate and complete workers’ compensation claim, well-recorded details will also assist a lawyer if you hire one. It’s important to:
- Document what happened
- Document when the incident occurred
- Document if other people were involved
- Document people who saw the incident and their contact information
- Document if the incident was caused by an ongoing safety issue
- Obtain any video recordings, audio recordings, or pictures
We Can Help
Dealing with a work injury can be stressful and confusing, but the experienced team at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help. We will work to gather records, document events, and build your claim. Reach out to us via live online chat to get started on your case.