What to Do After Being Injured at Work in the New Jersey Area
- September 24, 2021
Work-related injuries are often complex issues because of the relationship between employee and employer. If you’re injured at work, who do you report it to? What’s the first thing you should do? How do you file a report with your employer? These are questions that many people don’t consider until an injury has already occurred in the workplace. If you’ve been injured at work in the New Jersey area, keep reading to learn what to do next.
Step One: Seek Medical Attention
As with any injury, your first priority should be your own health and wellbeing. If your injury is serious enough that you require medical attention, get it immediately. It can also be a good idea to be examined by a medical professional, even when you don’t believe the injuries to be serious; a fall that leaves you with a sore back could actually reveal more serious damage later on, so it’s important to get that examination quickly.
If you fail to seek medical attention immediately after an injury at work, you may have a harder time claiming worker’s compensation or filing an injury report. After some time has passed, your employer may claim that your injuries were the result of something that happened outside the workplace, or that your injuries would have been less severe if you’d sought treatment immediately. In this way, getting medical attention before everything else is not only important to your own health but important to your claim as well.
Step Two: Search for and Document Evidence
Once you’ve received treatment for your injuries, it’s important to begin documenting evidence of your accident. Your HR department or another individual at work may begin this process for you while you’re receiving treatment, but it’s important for you to be involved as well. If coworkers were present when you were injured, ask for them to provide a written testimony of what they witnessed. Take pictures of any environmental hazards that might have led to your accident (broken stairs, faulty equipment, wet floors, etc.), and ask if security footage is available of the incident.
Collecting your own evidence can be incredibly helpful when you file your worker's compensation claim. The last thing you want is for your employer to be the only party with any evidence of what happened.
Step Three: Report the Accident
While this is listed third here, it’s still something that you want to do as soon as you possibly can, preferably within a few days of the accident. Depending on your exact circumstances, all three of these steps may be able to take place within the first 24 hours. However, in other situations, you may need a few days to recover before being able to document evidence and file your report.
In the state of New Jersey, oral notice to anyone in a supervisory position over you is considered sufficient for reporting the accident. However, it may be to your benefit to file a more formal, written report of the incident, so that there’s a clear record of what happened. Some employers will have their own forms for this; if your employer does not, you can simply write up a letter and provide a copy of it to your HR department.
Step Four: Contact a Lawyer
In some cases, filing a claim with your employer will allow you to collect worker’s compensation, and there will be no difficulties in attaining the funds that you’re owed for your injuries. But many times, your employer or their insurance carrier will attempt to delay, deny, or diminish your claim in some way. They may offer you less compensation than you feel entitled to or deny your claim altogether.
If a dispute arises regarding your claim, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. We can help guide you through filing a claim through the state’s court system, and advocate for you to get the compensation you deserve. Both formal and informal hearings can be requested with the Division of Workers’ Compensation, but regardless of which route you take, it is best to have an attorney advising you throughout the process.
It's important to be aware that filing a worker's compensation claim is not the same as filing a lawsuit against your employer. Your employer has insurance to protect the business and provide for employees that are injured on the job. Filing a worker's compensation claim is much like receiving payment from another driver's insurance carrier after a car accident; it's a normal part of the process, but one that is best supported by an attorney.
Are You Eligible for Worker’s Compensation Benefits?
If you’ve been injured at work and need an advocate to ensure you get the money you deserve, contact Selem Antonucci Law today through our website or by calling us at (908) 747-4477. We’ll speak to you regarding the details of your case, then provide you with the guidance to ensure your rights are protected throughout the claims process. Give us a call to set up a consultation today.