What should I do if I've been hurt at work?
Unfortunately, workplace injuries are common- about 24,000 injuries per year result in claims in Maryland alone- and can be devestating, not only to your health, but to your livlihood. In order to protect yourself and your rights, make sure to follow these steps if you've been injured or become sick as a result of your job:
- Get medical help ASAP. Your health will always be the most important thing. If necessary, get to the nearest ER or urgent care center. If the injury is minor and does not require immediate attention, do not hesitate to go to a doctor if it gets worse or does not improve.
- Report the accident to your employer. Failure to report a claim in a timely manner may result in loss of benefits. Make sure that you have followed your employer's guidelines for who you report the injury to, how it is reported, and when it is reported. Make sure to ask for a copy of any written report, including the "Employers First Report of Injury", which your employer is required to prepare and file with the Workers Compensation Commission.
- Even if you are not sure of the extent of your injuries (for example, a minor car accident), or if you are even injured at all (for example, potential exposure to harmful chemical or disease), report the incident. If it not uncommon for someone to brush off an injury initially, only for it to become a problem later- and then have benefits denied for failure to report.
- Remember- your report is not a claim for benefits. It is very common for injured workers to assume (and are even occasionaly told by their employers) that the "First Report of Injury" is a "filed claim". This is false. In Maryland, we call the claim form a C-1 Employee's Claim. Until you file this, your claim is not with the Workers Compensation Commission. Failure to file your claim within 2 years will completely bar recovery.
- Get legal help! Call or Jeff Stickle at McCarthy Wilson as soon as possible, (301) 762-7770. Jeff will make certain that your rights are protected and guide you through the process, including filing your claim and obtaining benefits on your behalf.
- Do not provide any written or recorded statements to the insurance adjuster without your lawyer present.
- Document everything, including:
- Who, when, and how you reported your injury;
- The names of any witnesses to the accident;
- Details of any doctors or other medical visits;
- Details of any phone calls from adjusters, nurse case managers, or other claims representatives;
- All out of pocket expenses including prescriptions, copays, and parking;
- All mileage for medical visits; and
- Keep all records, claim forms, medical notes, off work slips, etc. and give them to your attorney.