DOs and DON’Ts after an accident at work

| June 11, 2019

Even in the safest of work environments accidents seem to be unavoidable. So, if it’s impossible to ever prevent them, you at least need to have a contingency plan. To an employee in question, this injury may have long-lasting consequences, which is why taking the right course of action might secure one’s future. As for the employer, being ill-prepared and trying to keep things off the books might end up in a major fine, as well as have disastrous repercussions on your reputation. This is why it’s important that both parties get acquainted with dos and don’ts after an accident at work.

1.     Take care of the injured person

Depending on the gravity of the injury, the wellbeing of the person in question needs to be the first thing on your to-do list. Only after they’re taken care of should you start worrying about the administrative and legal consequences of the accident. Assess the situation and assist the injured party in the best way possible. If necessary, call the paramedics and under no circumstances do anything that could further harm the injured party. For instance, if they back are injured, you shouldn’t move them. If they’re unconscious you need to ensure that they don’t suffocate on their own tongue. Your office needs to have a first-aid kit and now might be the time to unseal it.

Generally speaking, you should probably learn about the workplace injury classification as soon as possible. For instance, major injuries are usually ones that involve a broken bone (limb or ribs), whereas dangerous incidents may be the ones that come from handling dangerous equipment (like scaffolding) or toxic materials. Still, things don’t have to be as severe for the workplace injury in question to be taken seriously. You see, any injury that stops an employee from working for more than three days classifies as well. Same goes for a disease that one developed in the line of duty. Naturally, death is the worst possible outcome of a workplace injury.

2.     Reporting the accident

This one is quite straightforward and reporting the accident is one of the top priorities after the injured party is taken care of. A lot of people may believe this to be both intuitive and obvious. You would be surprised just how easy it is for some people to get talked into not reporting the accident. Sometimes, this is done for one to preserve “safety reports”. This is always a bad idea and something that can make matters much worse, from a legal standpoint. It goes without saying that for this to be valid, proper injury report formats have to be honored.

3.     Consult your legal team

The next thing you need to worry about are the legal consequences of the accident and this is where you need to talk to experienced compensation lawyers. Here, you’ll get all the legal counsel you need, as well as get informed on your duties and responsibilities. As an injured party, you need to be aware if you’re entitled to medical expenses, domestic assistance, loss of income claims, as well as legal costs. All of this information is just as vital for the employer in question. It’s also pivotal that you don’t sign anything until you consult your legal advisor.

4.     Don’t give information to unnecessary parties

As an injured party, you’ll have to identify witnesses, talk to them and ask for their information. However, in case there is a legal process afterward, you shouldn’t talk to unnecessary parties and you definitely shouldn’t put pressure on anyone. Discussing any aspect of your case needs to be kept on a need-to-know basis. Remember that just because someone claims that you “have to” do something, this usually isn’t true.

5.     Filing the right claim

Finally, whether or not the claim will be approved or dismissed also depends on one’s understanding of types of claims (another reason why talking to a legal expert is a must). When it comes to major claims, there are four types worth mentioning. First, there’s the death or terminal illness benefit, which takes place only in the worst-case scenario. Then, you have the income protection and salary continuance benefits, disability benefits or total and permanent disablement claim payout. Depending on the scenario in question, one of these claims will have to be made and appropriate documentation gathered and submitted.

In conclusion

As you can see, all of this is a delicate matter, which is why it’s so easy to make a mistake somewhere in the process. Moreover, there’s always a sense of emergency, fear and bias, which makes it so much easier for a simple resolution of the process. Still, if everyone knows what they’re doing, as well as what they’re supposed to be doing, these things can be resolved much more effectively.