You are hurt at work. What do you do now? Keep in mind that not every injury is a sudden event, like injuring your low back picking up a box or falling down steps at work. Some injuries are harder to determine and understand, even for the person who is hurt. Things like repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis or bursitis, or chemical/smoke exposure, or even an illness, for example, COVID, can appear over a period of days or weeks.
Regardless of the type of injury, or how it happened, the first thing to do is report the injury. I cannot tell you how many times a client has told us that he or she did not report an injury immediately because “I didn’t think it was anything serious.” The fact is, all injuries should be reported immediately. It is far better to report something and then learn it is nothing serious than to fail to do so, and then discover it is worse than you initially suspected. A delayed reporting of an injury is often used by a workers’ compensation insurance insurer as a basis to deny the workers’ comp claim. Don’t make this mistake!
Once you have reported the injury, attention turns toward getting medical treatment. Many people think the employer, or the workers’ compensation insurer, controls what doctor the injured worker can see for a work injury. The truth is the employer, or the workers’ comp insurer, can limit the treatment options for a maximum of 90 days (and even then, certain steps have to have been met).