When you leave for work in the morning, you might never imagine that you will end up facing the long road to recovery from a serious work-related injury. However, accidents on the job can happen at any time – and in any industry or profession. It is important to know what to do following a workplace injury, and the first step to take is to seek the medical treatment you need.
The Importance of Prompt Medical Treatment
There are two main reasons why it is critical to seek medical treatment as soon as possible following a workplace accident:
- Receiving a diagnosis right away ensures that you can begin the treatment you need right away, as well. This can shorten the length of your recovery and allow you to get back on your feet and back to work sooner.
- Minimizing the time between an accident and your diagnosis makes it easier to prove that your injury was work-related for the purposes of a workers’ compensation claim. The more time that passes before you seek treatment, the better an insurance company can challenge the cause of your injury.
It is all too common for workers to try to “tough it out” after a work-related accident. If you are feeling soreness or stiffness, you might just give it time to see the problem clears up on its own. This is often a big mistake, as it can jeopardize a workers’ compensation claim should one become necessary.
Never tell your boss that you are fine when you are not. Do not downplay your symptoms, as no one receives benefits for being tough. Instead, inform your boss about what happened, and take steps to get the treatment you need immediately.
Where Should You Go for Treatment?
If your injury presents an emergency situation, you have the right to seek treatment at the nearest emergency room or urgent care, or to get emergency transportation. Your employer might designate a particular facility for you to visit. Once there, make sure that you tell the medical provider that your injury happened in a work accident. Having this as part of your medical record can help substantiate your claim.
If it is not an emergency, you can inform your employer that you need to see a doctor. If you had the opportunity to predesignate your physician of choice – and you took that opportunity – you may make an appointment with your predesignated doctor. If not, your employer can choose the doctor you visit following an injury, though you may be able to switch doctors at a later date.
Follow Your Treatment Plan
Once you have treatment recommendations, always abide by them closely. If you fail to do so, the workers’ compensation insurance company will assume your injuries are not serious enough to need the treatment prescribed. Whether your treatment plan involves surgery, physical therapy, rest at home, or other steps, be sure to take them as recommended by the physician. This can help ensure that you receive the full benefits that you deserve.