I Hurt Myself at Work—What Should I Do?
When you’re injured at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation—but if you’ve never gone through the process before, it’s helpful to have an attorney on your side. Here’s what to do in those crucial first few days:
- Alert your supervisor immediately: Your supervisor needs to know about your injury right away. Try to do this in writing if at all possible—while not every state requires it, it’s always good to start the paper trail early. In Missouri, you have 30 days to report your injury to your employer. However, we advise that you do it as soon as humanly possible.
- Get medical help: Next, if your injury requires it, seek medical help. Your initial appointment can be through your regular doctor or emergency services, but you may need to go to an approved doctor after you get the workers’ compensation process started. Some employers and insurers allow the employee to choose their own doctor. Be sure to find out what’s expected from you as soon as possible, so you’re not stuck with bills that won’t be covered. If you need leave for healing and recovery, find out what your workplace’s policy dictates—they may allow or even require you to take sick leave, personal leave or other time off.
- Call an attorney: If your case is particularly complex, it’s in your best interest to call an attorney. While the claims process should be initiated by your employer, not every employer plays by the rules. Furthermore, if your injury is in an insurance “gray area,” the insurer may try to deny your claim. Don’t give up before you talk to a lawyer—they can help you get your injuries covered. You shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for injuries suffered at work.
What’s covered under workers’ compensation?
Generally, if your company has five or more employees, they’re required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation does not apply to farm labor, domestic servants in a private home, real estate agents and sellers, volunteers at tax-exempt organizations or nonprofits and volunteers at interscholastic youth programs (and other similar programs).
In Missouri, you should be covered if you meet the following standards: “All injuries… must meet the standard of the accident being the prevailing factor in causing both the resulting medical condition and disability and the injury must arise out of and in the course of employment. The prevailing factor is defined to be the primary factor, in relation to any other factor, causing both the resulting medical condition and disability. Occupational diseases… must meet the standard of the occupational exposure being the prevailing factor in causing both the resulting medical condition and disability.”
If you qualify, you should be entitled to medical cost coverage, partial or total disability and more. If you’ve been injured at work, reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney at Maynard & Joyce, LLC today. We can help you navigate the claims process and appeal denials. We look forward to fighting on your behalf.