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Injured on the job? The initial steps you should take.

The following actions are recommended no matter how minor your injury might seem to you at the time:

First, report the accident by notifying your employer. A verbal notification to your supervisor is usually sufficient, but it is recommended that you confirm the notification in writing. If you do not report the accident within 30 days, then the general rule is that you will be barred from benefits under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. Second, be sure to follow up to confirm that an accident report has been completed, if that is your employer’s usual procedure. At the very least, a brief statement of how the accident occurred should be completed and dated by your supervisor. Third, document any conversations that you have with your supervisor, your company’s safety director, or fellow workers.

When you seek medical attention, the employer may direct you to a specific doctor. However, you have the right to request a panel of three physicians from whom you can pick an initial treating doctor. If no doctor is suggested and no panel presented, you should see a physician of your own choosing. When you see the physician/physicians, whether it is in the emergency room or a scheduled appointment, be sure you provide the doctor with a history of how the accident occurred. You should advise the doctor of the physical requirements of your work so that the doctor can determine if you are able to return to full-duty or if you have work restrictions. If possible, be sure the doctor documents what you have told him. If he is placing you on restrictions, then ask for a work restriction slip from the doctor.

You may be contacted by the worker’s compensation insurance carrier or your employer to provide a recorded statement of how your accident occurred. This is a normal investigative procedure usually carried out by the workers’ compensation insurance company. It is suggested that, if you have not contacted an attorney at this point, you should contact our workers’ compensation department for advice or a free consultation. If, at any time during the above outlined process, you are having difficulty with your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, you should schedule a consultation.