Look out for your best interests and hire a lawyer who will stand by you through these difficult times.
You’re on the job site, focused on completing a task that’s been assigned to you by your superiors. All of a sudden, you come across a hazardous workplace environment, and you get injured. It could be a slip and fall, a burn, exposure to toxic chemicals; in any event, you’ve been injured on workplace premises.
If you’ve suffered any kind of injury on the job site, you’re entitled to file a claim for workers’ compensation. But what’s the process you should follow to get your claim filed and increase the potential for a healthy settlement? These are the key steps to ensure you have the best chance to earn the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Seek medical help immediately
As with any serious illness or injury, the top priority is to seek medical help to treat your symptoms as fast as possible. If you have trained medical personnel on the job site, go to them immediately or have a co-worker bring them to you if your injury is so severe that you can’t move. If no one onsite has medical training, contact 911 so that you can be safely transported to a nearby hospital.
Report the injury to your supervisor
For the purposes of keeping an up-to-date workplace safety account of the premises, it’s important for the company to hear about any accidents causing bodily injury. But it’s even more important for your own workers’ compensation claim that you report the injury as soon as you can. The claim process can’t begin without making the company aware of what happened.
Acquire witness statements, if possible
If it’s a busy job site, chances are that at least one of your co-workers was nearby when you suffered your injury. That co-worker(s) can be an invaluable witness in your claim should third-party testimony be required to earn your compensation. Ensure that you get a statement from your co-worker – immediately after the accident, if possible – so their account of what happened can be put on record in your case.
Fill out the correct forms and paperwork
There are a number of forms that both you, the injured employee, and your employer must file to kickstart the process to file your claim. The forms vary from state to state, but they serve similar purposes.
For example, in South Carolina, one of the most important forms for an injured employee to file is known as Form 50. This form is a notice indicating that you are filing your workers’ compensation claim, and that you are formally requesting a hearing to process your case. Under South Carolina law, Form 50 must be filed within two years of the date of the injury. Otherwise, you forfeit your right to any compensation you could receive for your injuries.
Seek proper legal assistance
You can try and go through the claims process on your own. Keep in mind that the defendant in your case, whether it’s an insurer or your employer, will likely have legal representation. Their lawyers look out for their best interests, and will seek any possible reason to deny your claim.
That’s why you should have experienced workers’ comp legal representation of your own. A proven worker’s comp lawyer knows how to assess the facts of the case, and use the evidence to rightly put forward an argument to acquire fair and just compensation for your injuries.
The right attorney will also have a dogged investigation team at their disposal to help with the case. These investigators will comb the scene of the accident, assess the surroundings, collect any evidence in the case, and even use the evidence to recreate the circumstances that caused the injury in the first place. Between your lawyer and their investigative experts, you have a far better chance of acquiring the compensation you should receive for your injuries. Look out for your best interests and hire a lawyer who will stand by you through these difficult times.