Getting hurt at work can be a frightening experience. While you may simply want to try to put the incident out of your mind, accidents on-the-job can cause serious injuries and have lasting health consequences. The steps that you take after you get hurt can impact whether you are able to receive benefits and have losses resulting from the injury covered.
Unfortunately, too many workers make mistakes after Atlanta work injuries that end up costing them. If you got hurt while you were doing your job, you need to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta who can help you to understand your rights and protect your access to benefits.
Top Five Mistakes Workers Make After a Work Injury in Atlanta
Some of the most common mistakes that workers make when they get hurt in Atlanta workplaces include:
- Not reporting their injuries to their employers. In Georgia, injured workers are required to report their work injuries to their employers within 30 days or they could lose access to workers’ compensation benefits. You should report all injuries, even if you do not necessarily believe they are serious. If your symptoms do not get worse or do not go away, filing a timely report will ensure that you are not prevented from getting medical coverage to pay for the injuries, or from obtaining disability benefits if they end up impacting your ability to do your job.
- Not getting medical attention. When you get hurt, you may be tempted to simply go back to work. You should not do this- you should always get checked out by a doctor. This is true even if you think the injury is a minor one that may go away on its own. Some injuries like whiplash take time to show up. Other injuries, like internal bleeding or brain injury, may not manifest any recognizable symptoms right away. Getting prompt medical attention could diagnose hidden injuries and save your life. Your doctor can also document your work injuries so you can prove that the injuries are work-related. You will need to be able to prove this in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation coverage. Your employer is required by law to post doctors that will be covered by workers’ comp, so be sure to check for a list when determining what doctor to see.
- Not documenting their time off from work and their medical expenditures. Workers’ comp benefits should pay for all medical treatments that you need because of your workplace injury. When your earnings are reduced or you miss work for an extended period of time because of the injuries, you can also receive compensation for wage losses. Both temporary and permanent disability benefits are available for total disabilities and even for partial disabilities that reduce your earning potential by limiting the work you can do. You need to document the financial expenditures and losses you experience so you can be fully compensated.
- Downplaying the severity of their injury. It is tempting to be stoic and try to downplay how badly you were hurt. This is a bad idea because it can reduce the workers’ comp benefits you receive and you could be forced back to work before you are ready. This could exacerbate or worsen your health problems. Report all of your symptoms to your doctor and employer and be sure to keep careful records of the pain and problems you experience due to your workplace injury.
- Failing to make a workers’ compensation claim. You can make a workers’ comp claim for both illnesses and injuries on the job, regardless of who was at fault for your injury.
Your employer is required to buy workers’ compensation insurance coverage for a reason: to ensure you and your family do not suffer catastrophic financial loss simply because you were unlucky enough to be hurt while doing work tasks. After you get hurt, be sure to get legal advice so you can protect your right to benefits available under Georgia laws.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.