Texas workers perform challenging jobs around the clock, requiring diligence and attention to detail to prevent on-the-job accidents while often dealing with harsh elements and fast-paced environments. But even the most safety-oriented employee in Houston can be injured at work and require quick reactions in response. Workers dedicate many hours to their jobs and depend on them for financial support.
When an income is lost because of a workplace injury, it can be difficult to recover financially, and filing a personal injury lawsuit will be necessary when insurance claim settlement offers are inadequate for the losses you have suffered. Taking proactive steps after a workplace injury is vital to document your injuries and put you on the path to recover maximum compensation.
Become Familiar with Company Procedures
Time limits apply to any personal injury lawsuit (Section 16.003) in Texas. Therefore, every workplace possesses a standard operating procedure (SOP) for reporting accidents. No one plans to become injured at work, but becoming familiar with your company’s policy on handling workplace accidents is vital before an accident happens. Work injuries often require tremendous paperwork and reporting, which often becomes overwhelming and discouraging when facing a health crisis. Even when injuries appear minimal initially, it is best to document the accident to protect your interests and legal rights.
Medical Attention is Imperative
If you are severely injured at work, the most critical step is to seek medical attention immediately. If you cannot call for help, have a coworker call. But your health, safety, and immediate treatment are imperative.
If your injuries do not require immediate attention, you should still get evaluated at the scene as you may not realize how hurt you actually are. We will discuss the ramifications of failing to receive medical care.
Report Injuries Immediately
A timeframe for reporting a workplace injury is generally specified in the SOPs. Failing to report within the timeframe can result in various challenges, often causing cases to be dismissed or injury victims to receive far less compensation than they deserve if a personal injury lawsuit is filed.
Know who you should report the accident to, primarily when work occurs on varying days and shifts, which can limit interaction with human resources staff. Most often, a worker is required to report any occupational accidents to their immediate supervisor. We often rely on others to take care of essential paperwork when accidents happen on the job, but other work demands and activities can easily distract a supervisor and prevent the information about the accident from getting where it needs to be.
Document the Accident
Cameras are available almost all the time on our cell phones. After an accident, document any circumstances that may have contributed to your injuries. Your injuries may have been caused by a spill that a previous shift failed to clean up, or a piece of machinery could have malfunctioned.
Whatever the contributing factors are, capture them in a photo or video. These hazards are often quickly corrected to prevent further injuries, which is a great safety practice. But pictures can be used to support your personal injury claim or lawsuit if required.
Document Witnesses to the Accident
More than likely, your coworkers will witness the events of an occupational accident. Document any workers in the area at the time, writing down their names and contact information. It is best not to discuss the circumstances of a work accident with anyone, so you should simply get their information if they can support for your personal injury claim.
Submit the Appropriate Documentation
Most employers will require documentation after an accident has occurred at work. It is critical that the account of the accident is accurate, and often, the nature of an accident and the events may be unclear until an investigation occurs. Before signing a statement drafted on your behalf about the incidents involved in the accident, consult with a Houston personal injury attorney to ensure you have someone advocating on your behalf.
Every industry must maintain a safe work environment for their employees, which is documented in depth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and reportable injuries or illnesses are precisely defined. As an employee, you have the right to fill out and should submit an Employee’s Report of Injury Form, which requires participation from your supervisor. Keep copies of any incident reports for your records.
Write a Personal Account of the Accident
It is easy to think that we will easily recall the details of an event, but this is not the case. Even details of traumatic events are forgotten over time, with the events becoming unclear. Within a day or so of a workplace accident, take the time to write or otherwise record a separate account as you remember it while the accident is fresh in your memory.
Follow the Treatment Plan
Part of the documentation of any accident is following the treatment plan established by your physician and keeping follow-up appointments. Your medical treatment initiates the documentation and correlation of your injuries and the workplace accident. Some injuries may take days or weeks before symptoms appear, and failure to seek treatment can result in an employer and their legal representation arguing your injuries resulted from another incident. Appointments often feel inconvenient, but follow-through is vital in any personal injury case.
Limit Your Sharing
Texans often bond during water cooler conversations and at after-work gatherings. Many jobs require workers to live away from home, spending long hours with coworkers that often become more like family. But sharing the events of an on-the-job accident, your thoughts on work conditions, or expressing derogatory comments about an employer is never recommended.
It is also best to refrain from posting pictures or statements about workplace accidents on social media platforms. It is unnecessary to delete accounts, but limit posting, sharing, and commenting until a personal injury settlement or lawsuit is completed. Your actions and comments on these platforms are public information that can be used against you.
Work With a Knowledgeable Houston Work Injury Attorney
Your best interests and fair compensation should be addressed by a compassionate but determined Houston work injury lawyer who understands how your work injuries can ultimately impact your life. Insurance companies eager to settle your claim know that the sooner a settlement is reached, the more likely your compensation will be reduced because no one is advocating for your needs based on a total picture of the losses you can experience for an unforeseeable time. Scheduling a free consultation soon after a Texas workplace accident is imperative to preserve vital documentation and ensure you and your loved ones receive the best possible compensation.