You try to be careful on the job, no matter what your profession, but the thing about accidents is they happen despite all your best efforts and those of your employer to prevent them. In fact, about three million Americans are injured or fall ill on the job each year. So what should you do if you suffer an injury or illness?
At The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre in The Woodlands, Texas, our expert team of orthopedic surgeons has a lot of experience dealing with work-related accidents and workers’ compensation claims. We can diagnose and treat your injury or illness and help you sort out the paperwork you need to file. Here’s what you need to know.
There’s a wide range of potential hazards in the workplace, from ripped carpet to falling items to saws and drills to repetitive motions like typing or working on an assembly line. Even loud noises without adequate ear protection can be a problem. In fact, The National Safety Council reports that someone is injured on the job every seven seconds in the US, so if you’re hurt, you’re not alone.
The first thing you should do, assuming you’re conscious, is to practice effective first aid. Clean and bandage a wound, immobilize an injured limb, apply an ice pack to strains or sprains, or get to an ER if you can’t handle the injury yourself.
Next, tell your supervisor or someone in authority at your workplace. In most states, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation if you’re injured on the job or because of your normal duties. Under law, employers have to have liability and workers’ compensation insurance, and they have to provide benefits to their employees who get hurt at work. It’s also a good idea to talk to your coworkers who may have witnessed your accident so you have reliable corroboration.
Obviously, broken bones, lacerations, and other serious injuries need immediate medical attention. But you should get even seemingly minor injuries and illnesses checked out as well. Many conditions have delayed symptoms or no symptoms at all, like a blow to the head.
Sometimes your employer’s insurance carrier will require that you see a doctor in their network for treatment. If your employer isn’t in a network, The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre is the ideal place to get evaluated and treated, as we handle problems with most body parts. Our doctors can diagnose, treat, and monitor your condition, as well as make valuable connections between your accident and your future health to help your workers’ compensation claim.
Your evaluation includes a physical exam and a discussion of your symptoms and medical history, as well as imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, all of which we do onsite. Following your evaluation, your doctor develops the most effective treatment plan for your condition. Your plan may include:
In some cases, you may require surgery. Our team of orthopedic surgeons specializes in a number of safe and effective procedures using both traditional and minimally invasive techniques.
You need to report your injury to your employer within 30 days from the date you got hurt or from the date you knew your illness or injury was related to your job. If you don’t let your employer know in that time frame, you may not get benefits.
You must also submit a completed DWC Form-041, Employee's Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease, to the Department of Workers’ Compensation within one year of the date you were hurt to protect your rights in the event you have medical needs and require wage compensation in the future.
Paperwork, especially when you’re not feeling well, can seem a bit overwhelming, but our doctors will review everything with you so that you stay on track. And if you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities, you can find additional information on the DWC website.
If you’ve been injured on the job and need to get evaluated and treated, The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre can help take care of all aspects of the workers’ comp process. Give our office a call at 281-410-2882, or schedule your consultation online today.