A work related injury can derail your life in an instant. What begins as a normal day at work can end with you facing serious injuries and a significant interruption to your life, and obstacles preventing you from returning to work. It is common for work injury victims to feel overwhelmed and unsure about their life circumstances after a work accident. The time after a work accident is stressful, with much uncertainty about your health and ability to maintain your household and support your family.
While it may feel hopeless, you are not alone, and there are many things you can do to try to get your life back on a positive track following a debilitating work injury. With the right support team and professionals to guide you through this process, you can overcome the challenges you are experiencing and move forward with your life.
Try to Focus Your Energy on Your Healing & Your Future
Your health should be your first priority after a work accident. Although you may be eager to return to work, if you do so before your body is ready, you could worsen your injury or cause complications during your recovery. After a work injury, the best thing you can do to protect your health and a potential workers’ compensation claim is to abide by the treatment plan set out by your doctors and follow their orders and recommendations closely.
Remain Attentive to Your Injuries and Follow All Treatment
A workers’ compensation insurance company will consider the injuries you suffer during a work accident and what you do after the injury in terms of treatment. A delay in seeking treatment, failure to attend appointments, or follow your care plan can affect your workers’ compensation claim. Getting to maximum recovery from your injuries can take time and involve ups and downs. Continue to attend therapies and rehabilitation and consider all possible options to recover from your injuries as best as possible.
If, at any point after the accident, you believe you may have additional injuries, or you begin to feel worse or like something is not right, seek medical attention immediately. Some injuries can mask themselves in the moments after an accident at work, but they can develop and get worse over time. Some of these injuries can be particularly dangerous and life-threatening, such as internal injuries affecting organs or brain injuries.
Most Common Injuries in Work Related Accidents
Workplace injuries can happen for several reasons and can vary depending on the type of industry you work in. Each year private industries report over two million workers injured on the job.
Some particularly dangerous jobs carry a high risk of injuries, such as at a construction site or positions requiring you to handle hazardous materials. When you are in a workplace accident, you may sustain one or multiple injuries that require emergency medical attention and treatment.
Depending on the severity of the injuries, you may have to miss work for a significant amount of time as you go through rehabilitation. Additionally, some injuries can potentially cause temporary or permanent disability to a worker.
Examples of some of the most frequent injuries at work sites in the U.S. include:
- Overexertion or overuse injuries
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Slips, trips, or falls
- Contact with objects at the work site
- Fires or explosions
- Vehicle-related accidents
Life After a Work Injury
An injury affects your physical health and ability to meet the demands of your everyday life, including your work responsibilities. Often the biggest impact of a work injury is the subsequent loss of productivity for the individual injured.
Work injuries can prevent you from earning the income you need to meet your daily living expenses, which can have a domino effect on your life after an accident. However, as medical bills and living expenses pile up when you cannot work, it can quickly become a dire and overwhelming situation.
Workplace accident victims who face possible long-term disabilities may not be able to return to work anytime soon, and some victims with permanent disabilities may not be able to return to their prior position in any capacity. This is burdensome for the workers and their families as they try to manage their lives and meet the financial obligations necessary to maintain a home. Fortunately, a workers’ compensation claim can help you offset some of these costs and losses to help you begin to set a path out of this difficult time.
Seek Help from Mental Health Professionals If Necessary
The focus on recovery for most workplace accidents surrounds your injuries at first, but you may also have emotional and mental trauma that follows a workplace accident. The effects on your mental well-being can occur because of the events surrounding the accident, the medical care necessary to treat your injuries, or the extensive impact a work accident has on your life, causing you endless stress and worry.
If you find yourself struggling after a work accident, consider reaching out to a mental health support professional that can help guide you through this challenging period. You do not need to go through this alone; you can reach out for help when needed.
Consider Whether a Retraining Program is Appropriate in Your Case
When you are dealing with serious work accident injuries that are likely to prevent you from returning to the work you were doing before the accident, you could be eligible for an often overlooked benefit of a workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, when a worker injured on the job reaches their maximum recovery but that recovery leaves them with disabling impacts, they could be eligible to receive retraining program benefits.
A retraining program can provide an opportunity for a worker with a partial disability to receive certain vocational training in other potential roles that they could carry out with the limitations they are now facing because of their injuries.
As a victim of an injury while on the job, you want to earn a living even after an injury. If it is possible for you to find a role that meets your physical needs, it can offer you a chance to adapt to the sudden changes you now face because of the effects of an injury. Retraining can help you find another way to remain productive and active in a work environment, while still considering the limitations created by your injuries.
Pursue Any Compensation Available Under workers’ compensation Coverage
The biggest obstacle that workers who suffer an injury while carrying out their roles at work must endure is the financial pressure and uncertainty following a work related accident. Almost immediately, you will begin to accrue bills for your medical care. If your injuries are severe and require extensive medical intervention such as hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation, those bills will multiply very quickly.
At the same time that you are receiving the care and support from your medical providers that you need to heal from your injuries, you are also unable to work. While a few lost hours can be nothing more than an inconvenience, the burden and pressure on an injured worker drastically increases when those hours turn into days, weeks, or months.
When you suffer any injury while working, you have the right under the law to pursue compensation for certain losses related to the injury. In most instances, an employer has workers’ compensation insurance coverage for the injuries a worker sustains while carrying out their work obligations. The amount of compensation you can receive will vary depending on the coverage available and the extent of your injuries.
Common benefits you can seek as part of a workers’ compensation claim may include:
- Medical. The bills for all medical treatment you receive or require in the future because of your workplace injury are recoverable in a workers’ compensation claim.
- Disability. When an injury leaves you unable to work, whether temporarily or permanently, you can recover a portion of your income through disability benefits depending on your injury and circumstances.
- Vocational retraining. If you sustain an injury that permanently affects your functioning and abilities, you may qualify for retraining services to help you find more appropriate work and an ability to earn income in light of your injuries.
- Death. If a worker dies from a work-related injury, workers’ compensation insurance provides some death benefits to certain surviving family members.
Do You Need a workers’ compensation Attorney for a Worker’s Comp Claim?
Deciding whether or not you should hire a workers’ compensation attorney to help with your claim might seem difficult, but it does not need to be. A workers’ compensation lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your claim and case.
For example, foregoing a lawyer and trying to handle a workers’ compensation claim can end in a denial of the claim altogether or in a settlement insufficient to meet costs for the care of your injuries and your lost income. It is always better to contact a worker’s comp attorney as soon as you can after an accident at work. A workers’ compensation attorney can review your rights through a claim and how much you could recover in a settlement for your injury.
Additionally, when you hire a workers’ compensation claim attorney to represent you from the beginning, you can allow them to handle all aspects of your case. You will not need to deal with calls from representatives of your insurer or inquiries from your employer regarding the status of your claim and injuries.
Your lawyer will manage all communications with these parties as well as speak to medical collection companies about your bills and claim. When you hire a lawyer, you will still receive updates and developments on your claim and possible settlement offers.
Your attorney will keep you in the loop and advise you through each step of the process and what your options may be.
What if Your Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance at the Time of Your Injuries?
Although rare, it can happen that you suffer an injury on the job, and when you inquire as to workers’ compensation insurance, you discover your employer does not have this active coverage. In the event you suffer an injury at work and your employer does not carry workers’ compensation coverage, you may have a right under the law to file a lawsuit for the compensation of your treatment and lost earnings directly against the company that you work for.
Most businesses carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and in some states, it is mandatory coverage. When a business forgoes this important coverage or fails to follow the law, it opens itself up to possible personal liability for any injuries a worker sustains while working for them.
If you believe your employer does not carry workers’ compensation coverage, a workers’ compensation attorney can review your case and determine what other legal options might be available to you.
Keep Detailed Records of Your Injury, Take Notes, and Collect Evidence
The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim can be tedious and take time. During this time, the details surrounding your accident at work can become foggy, and trying to recall the exact events and your injuries is challenging.
To avoid making a mistake or misremembering facts that could be important to your claim, you can create a record to log your experiences, notes, and photographs relating to your injury, treatments, communications with your employer, and other important information that may become relevant and necessary during the claims process.
Look Ahead After a Work Injury
Ultimately, getting your life back on track after a work injury is not going to happen in a day. It will take time to heal and time for you to be ready to move forward with your life. Do everything you can now to make life better for you in the future and take advantage of the resources available to you. Contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to guide you through the process and ensure you have what you need to recover from your workplace injury.