When an accident happens at work and an injury occurs, the first thing an injured worker should do is seek medical attention by reporting the event to the immediate supervisor or manager. The injured employee should report the details of the accident but focus on securing medical attention. At our firm, we encourage our clients to focus on their health first as the recovery time is very important. Therefore, he or she should insist on “getting checked out” by the company physician or other medical facility. When this occurs, the medical professional and the supervisor will inquire as to what happened. Therefore, the proper reporting of the injury, which is crucial to the workers’ compensation claim, is taking place.
When reporting the accident, the injured worker should be able to accurately document the events leading up to the accident. She should also know the time, date, and place of the occupational accident. Furthermore, she should be able to identify which body parts were injured, the names of any witnesses, and whether the place of business had any cameras that may have recorded the event. We also recommend that the injured worker take the time to write a short narrative of what happened. It may also be a good idea to take this short narrative with you to the doctor’s office as sometimes the injured worker may be in too much pain or under medication. When reporting the injury to the treating physician, it is important to be consistent and comprehensive as to what body parts have been injured. Additionally, it is important to openly tell the doctor and nurse how bad the pain has become. However, exaggerating your pain level should be avoided. For example, generally injured Delta employees are taken to the Hapeville location of Concentra or Peachtree Orthopedic. These medical facilities will inquire as to the level of the injured Delta employee’s pain. Usually, the nurses or doctors will say something like, “if the number 1 equaled no pain and the number 10 equaled the absolute worst pain, where would your pain level be?” The pain should be limited to those parameters. Saying “number 11” is not useful, and if you say “number 10” then you are saying the pain is equal to, as one of my clients stated, “being stabbed in the eye with a hot stick.”
Generally, the Employers will require that an “incident report” be completed. If so, we recommend that the injured employee obtain a copy of the incident report for his or her records. In many instances, another body part may begin to cause pain a few days after the accident. If this occurs, it is important to determine if this new pain is related to the original work accident. If the injured employee believes it is related, he or she must able to articulate the same to the treating physician. Additionally, we recommend to our clients they keep a running diary of their medical visits and communication with his or her supervisors regarding the work accident.
Many times, winning a workers’ compensation case will depend on the injured workers’ account of the accident and how well her claim has been documented. The sooner and more complete the report is, the easier the claim will be processed. If you have any questions about your workers’ compensation claim in Atlanta or any other city in Georgia, please contact our office for a free consultation.