Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make After a Workplace Injury

Suffering an injury at work can be a turning point in your career and life, leading to physical, emotional, and financial strain. When navigating the workers’ compensation process, it’s easy to fall into traps and make unintentional mistakes that jeopardize your claim and the benefits you deserve.

Failing to Report the Injury Promptly and Accurately

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not reporting your injury immediately. Time is of the essence, and delays can lead to questions about the legitimacy of your claim. The best thing you can do is report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. When doing so, make sure that you provide a clear and detailed account of what happened. Accurate and timely reporting establishes the foundation of your claim and helps prevent disputes down the line.

Neglecting Immediate Medical Attention

Do not underestimate the severity of your injury. Even if it seems minor, underlying issues could surface later, complicating your recovery and claim. This is due to the body’s release of hormones like adrenaline.

“Adrenaline tells your body how to reallocate resources, causing the physical responses, one of which includes the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that act as your body’s natural painkillers,” Pinnacle Health Chiropractic explains. “With endorphin release, your after-accident pain may be partially or completely masked.”

Even if you aren’t in a ton of pain, be sure to seek medical attention immediately following the incident, and ensure that the examination is thorough. Medical records from right after the accident can be pivotal in proving the extent and cause of your injuries.

Ignoring Medical Advice and Treatment Plans

Once you’ve received medical attention, adhering to the prescribed treatment plan is crucial. Skipping appointments, ignoring medical advice, or discontinuing treatment prematurely can hinder your recovery. (It can also weaken your workers’ compensation claim.) Insurers may interpret these actions as evidence that your injuries are not as serious as claimed, potentially leading to reduced compensation.

Not Understanding Your Legal Rights and Benefits

A common and critical mistake is not fully understanding your legal rights and the benefits available under workers’ compensation laws. These laws can be complex, and without a clear understanding, you might settle for less than you deserve or miss out on certain entitlements.

It’s important to educate yourself about your rights, the compensation process, and the full scope of benefits you’re entitled to. Consider consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure you are making informed decisions and taking the right steps to protect your interests.

Hiring an experienced attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim. They can provide valuable guidance, negotiate on your behalf, and help you avoid pitfalls that could jeopardize your case.

Poor Documentation of the Injury and Its Impact

Document everything related to your injury and its aftermath. This includes medical records, reports, correspondence with your employer or insurance companies, and a diary of how the injury affects your daily life and work.

Thorough documentation is one of your greatest assets in an injury or workers’ compensation claim. It can serve as strong evidence, supporting the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life. Without good documentation, you’re pretty much left to your verbal account (which doesn’t always hold up well in a conference room with lawyers and mediators).

Rushing to Return to Work Too Soon

Returning to work too soon after an injury can have negative effects on both your health and your claim. You may feel pressure to return due to financial concerns or workplace obligations, but resuming work prematurely can exacerbate your injuries and compromise your recovery. It also sends a message that your injuries may not be as severe, which can affect the compensation you receive.

Be sure you have medical clearance to return to work and discuss any necessary adjustments or accommodations with your employer. (Again, keep documentation of this, as it’s very important to the integrity of your case.)

Underestimating the Emotional and Psychological Impact

Finally, don’t overlook the emotional and psychological impact of your workplace injury. The physical aspect is just one part of your recovery; mental health is equally important. Ignoring the emotional strain can delay your overall recovery and affect your claim’s outcome. Seek appropriate support, whether through counseling, support groups, or mental health professionals, to address these aspects of your recovery.

Putting it All Together

If you find yourself in an unfortunate scenario where you’re injured at work, you have to act swiftly. (Hopefully, that’s what this article impresses upon you.) The more proactive you are, the less likely you’ll be taken advantage of. Instead, you’ll get the compensation you deserve.