August 2021 - Injured at Work? Follow These Three Important Steps
As more people return to the workplace following extended pandemic shutdowns, it’s a good time to address what you need to do in the event of a work-related injury.
- Report the accident – Immediately tell your employer about your injury and fill out a written accident report, keeping a copy for your records. File the report as soon as practical after your accident so as not to miss your state-mandated deadline. New Jersey allows 14 days for a worker to report an accident or work-related illness to their employer and two years to file a Workers’ Compensation claim.
- Keep records – In addition to keeping a copy of your accident report, record all significant interactions you have with representatives of your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier.
- Seek medical attention and follow doctor’s orders – Have your injuries assessed and treated by a medical professional and request a copy of the medical evaluation and treatment plan for your records. Be sure to follow through on all prescribed treatments, an important step if you need to defend a Workers’ Compensation claim later.
The Bureau of Labor statistics show that in New Jersey 69,000 workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in the private sector and 20,500 in the State and local government sector for 2019. These numbers confirm that, despite safety procedures in place and precautions taken, accidents can and do happen.
The most common work-related injuries involve sprains, strains and tears, especially in the back and legs, followed by repetitive motion injuries like tendinitis and carpal tunnel. Most workplace injuries can be attributed to overexertion, slip and falls, or being struck or caught up in job-related equipment.
Staying alert, following workplace safety procedures and avoiding drug and alcohol use while on the job can limit your risk of injury. It’s important to note that injuries attributed to drug or alcohol use would be excluded from coverage under Workers’ Compensation laws.
Work smart and stay safe!