What Do You Do When You Are Injured At Work?
I regularly have people call me to tell me they were just in an accident. It could be an industrial or work accident or even a
car accident. I normally respond by telling them that I am sorry to hear about their misfortune. After this there is a long pause by me and then a question often comes from the caller: "What should I do?" "Were you hurt?" I respond. Another long pause by the caller followed by, "Well…yes". If you were hurt then you should seek appropriate medical attention. "Oh", says the caller, "I guess you're right."
Folks, if you are injured at work or in any other situation, you should seek reasonable and needed medical attention. The sooner you do this, the better off your medical condition will be and the better off your injury case will be as well. In the case of a work injury, you are not obligated to see any type of industrial doctor. When you employer tells you not to worry…that their doctor will take care of everything, you need not listen. You are free to seek any medical provider of your choosing.
"But I don't have any insurance", says the caller. "And I can't afford to pay cash for the emergency room". First, many hospitals will treat "emergencies" and worry about payment later. Next, most medical incidents are not actually emergencies and don't need to be treated in emergency rooms. Many urgent care facilities are fast, inexpensive and effective for these purposes. From the attorney's point of view, large medical bills are nice to have, but it is more important to have immediate treatment than it is to have large bills. Finally, if you don't have a doctor, you don't have insurance and you truly do not know where to go to get appropriate medical care, maybe a lawyer could guide you in the right direction. Likewise, lawyers may be able to refer you to medical providers who will not require payment up front. This is called working on a lien where doctors agree to perform services now and get paid later, usually after the case settles.
After you have dealt with any emergent medical care necessities, then it may be time to meet with or at least talk to a lawyer. There are many reasons for this. We must put the other side "on notice" of an injury. This means that we must tell your employer or the party who caused the injury that such an injury actually occurred, when and how. We may notify an insurance provider for the wrongdoer that an injury occurred and start the claim process with the insurance company. This will likely help to expedite the settlement process. We will need to gather necessary documents, like police reports, medical records, and even payroll information in order to properly document the injury claim.
We also need to talk with you about the injury and help to plan a course of treatment, if necessary. Do you need surgery, or is therapy necessary? Are you missing wages from lost work? Does your car need to be repaired or replaced? Do we need an accident report or do we need to notify your own insurance carrier? It is the lawyer's job to help with all of these things. In the case of a work injury it is often possible to get compensation for lost work before the claim is settled.
Next, is this going to be a worker's compensation claim or a personal injury claim or both? How do we know? Were you at work, going to working, coming from work or on a work related task? These are all things to discuss with your lawyer and things we need to talk about at the earliest stages of the claim.
If you have been injured at work or have sustained any other injury that was not your fault, call The Valley Attorney Group, we can help.
(818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or visit our sites: