Suffering a work injury can be inconvenient, stressful, and sometimes confusing. In order to protect your rights to workers’ compensation benefits that are available in Iowa, it is important to understand the steps that need to be taken after your injury.
To ensure that you’re as prepared as possible, read through this helpful 7-part work injury response checklist:
1. Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
When you are injured at work, your health is what matters most. Your workplace probably has guidelines or a defined process in place that you should follow after an accident occurs. Keep in mind that part of that process will likely involve reporting the injury before seeking medical treatment, as Iowa Workers’ Compensation law stipulates that your employer may choose where to send you for medical care to treat a work-related injury. As soon as you experience an injury at work, talk to your work about where to seek medical treatment immediately.
2. Report the Work Injury as Soon as Possible
Take the necessary steps to report an injury to your employer as soon as it happens. Fill out any relevant paperwork and complete any processes that your employer requires from you. Take note of any coworkers who witnessed the injury and document your own personal summary of what happened. Include as many details as possible. Even if your injury does not require immediate medical attention, it’s still important that you report your injury to your employer as soon as you can. According to the Iowa Workforce Development Division of Workers’ Compensation, “unless your employer has notice or knowledge of your asserted injury within 90 days of its occurrence, you may be denied benefits.”
3. Look for and Document Any Witnesses
After you experience an injury on the job, make a list of the other people who witnessed the accident. If you don’t already have it, collect the contact information of any person who can provide a firsthand account of what happened. Your employer or attorney may ask witnesses to also make a statement about the injury or corroborate the details you provided when you reported the injury. Once you’re finished with this task, mark it off of your checklist.
4. Write a Detailed Summary of What Happened
In order to be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you will be asked to report the injury to your employer and fill out any relevant necessary paperwork. It’s also helpful to write your own personal detailed summary of what happened when you experienced the accident or injury in case your claims are challenged by your employer or your attorney asks you to provide more information about what exactly happened.
5. Follow Doctor Visit Guidelines
In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, follow medical care guidelines outlined by your employer. Remember that according to the Iowa Workforce Development Division of Workers’ Compensation, “the employer has the right to choose the medical care and must provide medical care reasonably suited to treat your injury.” You may also be required to visit the same employer-approved doctor or medical care facility for follow-up treatment or care.
6. Check the Numbers
Review all medical bills and insurance documentation that you get following your injury and medical care. Don’t assume that the numbers reported by your employer, insurance carrier, hospital, or doctor’s office are correct. Go through everything on your own and look for any discrepancies that may exist.
7. Consult With an Attorney
If you have any trouble throughout this checklist process, consult with an attorney. Your employer knows the law and knows how to respond advantageously whenever accidents do occur. You need to know your rights as well. Feel confident knowing that Platt Law can help you get the care and benefits you deserve. Platt Law offers free consultations for personal injury and workers compensation inquires in Iowa.