If you have never experienced an on-the-job injury before, you should be aware of what to do before an incident, so that you are able to protect your rights should something occur. I’ve put together a short (but important!) list of things Georgia employees should know:
You should do this quickly, while events are still fresh in your mind. Jot down significant details like the time, the surroundings, the names of any witnesses, any details that led to your accident, and how the accident occurred. If company safety or equipment violations are at play, be sure to note those as well. Alternately –and since we live in a tech-friendly world– you could make a brief video or voice recording of your recollections about the incident (if you choose to do this, however, don’t surrender this to anyone; it should only exist as a point of reference for yourself).
If your injury is not life-threatening, you need to report it to your immediate supervisor or union representative immediately. There are forms they are required to file, and they will need to take a report about what happened to cause your injury.
If your injuries are life-threatening, go to the closest emergency room right away. When you are doing hospital paperwork, be sure to tell the staff that your injury occurred in the workplace. They have special procedures in place for workers’ compensation injuries.
When dealing with a workplace injury, you need to be seen in an E.R. or by a company-approved workers’ comp doctor, depending on the severity of your injury and the immediacy of your need for care.
If your injury is severe, you should report to an emergency room, and notify your supervisor as soon afterward as you are able to do so. If your injury is not severe, your employer will refer you to a workers’ compensation doctor. You must see the provider you are referred to.
Get a copy of all documents you sign and forms you fill out in relation to your injury. Keep them together in a safe place in case you need them for reference later on. Keep records on-hand of every appointment and prescription.
This is one instance where you do not want to be a rebel. You need to follow the doctor’s instructions to the letter. If you are told to stay out of work, stay out of work. If you are told to report to work, report to work. Do not miss scheduled appointments with doctors or therapists. Take any medications prescribed to you according to physician instructions. Do your physical therapy faithfully, and limit activities as directed. This can all be summed up by the phrase– “Be a good patient!”
If your workers’ compensation doctor requires you to stay out of work or orders that you can only perform light duty tasks on the job, it is against the law for an employer to threaten your employment or potential disability benefits. They cannot legally use your workplace injury to discriminate against you. Refuse anything that goes against doctor’s orders. You have the law on your side, no matter what your employer says.
Get Legal Counsel
Every injured Georgia worker can benefit from a consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Atlanta workers’ comp lawyers from Moebes Law, LLC are well-versed in Georgia law and can assist you in determining your best course of action with regard to your disability benefits. They work closely with a team of respected Georgia medical professionals to ensure the highest quality of care for their workers’ compensation clients.
While I hope that you never have to put these tips to use, please bookmark them and review them periodically so that you are prepared.