The First Things You Should do if You are Injured at Work

If you are injured at your place of employment, it can be difficult to know what steps to take next. Here, we plan to outline what things are immediately necessary for you to do after a workplace injury and to provide options for medical treatments and rehabilitation as necessary. 


Seek Immediate Medical Treatment


If you have been injured at work, seek out immediate medical treatment by going to the emergency room or scheduling a doctor’s appointment. Usually, if you schedule a doctor’s appointment, then the treating health care provider must be authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board if you plan on filling a claim. One exception to this rule is if the injury requires immediate emergency care. 


Some employers have elected to participate in a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) program, in which you might be mandated to seek medical treatment from a specific participating health care provider. For employers who have chosen to participate in these groups, they are required to notify their employees, in writing, of all information pertaining to a PPO or ADR program. 


Some injuries require testing before a medical diagnosis is reached and treatments can begin. In these circumstances, your employer or your workers’ compensation insurance carrier may require you to have these tests taken or your medicine administered from a certain diagnostic network or network of pharmacies. Employers are further required to give you written notice that you are required to use a specific diagnostic network or pharmacies to help treat your workplace injury.


If the workers’ compensation claim is not in dispute, then the cost of necessary medical services is paid by your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier. 


Notify Your Supervisor About the Injury 


As soon as the injury occurs – or in an emergency situation, as soon as the injury has been treated – it is critically important to notify your supervisor about the incident. You must fully inform your employer in writing within 30 days of the accident or you might be ineligible to receive worker’s compensation benefits. This rule is specific to those injuries that are immediately apparent, like deep cuts, broken bones, or concussions. 


Other rules exist for conditions that take months or years to develop, like occupational diseases. The notification period is extended, but an employee should still immediately file notice that an injury was directly related to work with a specific employer. Usually, the extended timeframe for reporting should be given within two years after disablement, or within two years after the claimant knew or should have known that the disease was work-related, whichever is later.


File a Workers’ Compensation Claim


Once you report your injury, your employer will provide you any necessary forms to complete. Usually, the employer will submit these forms to its insurance company and the state workers’ compensation agency. In some states, this will be the official start to your workers’ compensation claim. The insurance company will conduct an investigation before approving or denying your claim. The insurer must tell you what it decided, usually within two to four weeks.


In Pennsylvania, the workers’ compensation claims process includes filing a claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Your employer must submit a First Report of Injury to the state to start the process, and there is a strict deadline of three years from the date of injury to file a claim petition to ensure you do not lose your benefits.


Seek Appropriate Medical Followup 


Rehabilitation after an injury is critically important to ensure that you not only get back on your feet, but that you can recover to your maximum medical capacity. Physical therapy or rehabilitative care aimed at overcoming an injury and regaining functionality can be a critical component in returning to your state of normal health. When physical therapy is focused on improving your health so that you might be able to return to work, that practice is specifically called occupational therapy. 


Occupational therapy helps people who have been hurt in a workplace accident do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic movements mimicking daily activities. Occupational therapy practitioners can help promote health and prevent or recover from injury, illness, or disability. 


Common occupational therapy interventions help workers recovering from injury to regain skills. Occupational therapy services typically include an individualized evaluation during which the person who has been injured and the occupational therapist determine short and long term goals. A fair bit of counseling is also involved in occupational therapy to ensure that the goals that have been previously established are being met and to evaluate progress to determine if changes to the plan are needed. 


In addition to physical rehabilitation, if you are unable to perform the same job you once held because of your medical restrictions due to a workplace injury, then you may need vocational rehabilitation to train you for a new career. Vocational rehabilitation is a work compensation benefit that includes additional education via tuition reimbursement or additional or different training to prepare you for another job, if you find yourself incapable of doing your past work because of permanent restrictions. Your employer may be required to provide vocational rehabilitation to help you get back to gainful employment.


How can the Injury Care Center Help With My Workplace Injury? 


The Injury Care Center focuses on patients first and can provide a number of different services all under one roof. We provide services like pain management, chiropractic care, physical therapy, and massage therapy. When creating your individualized plan to return to health, working with professionals in many different rehabilitative fields can yield results. 

We regularly work with people who have been injured at work and that experience makes us better at helping you recover more quickly. We believe that focusing on rehabilitation is the key to not only a healthy body but a healthy mind, as well, that is why we take the stress out of seeking medical treatment by working collaboratively in one space, providing courtesy transportation and accepting specialist referrals. Contact us today for more information.