People often ask what they should do right after they are hurt on the job in a work accident. My answer is always the same. If you think you might have suffered a work related “work comp” injury, even if you are not sure that you will need treatment or if the injury was caused by a work accident, the first step an injured worker should take is report the injury in writing, right away, to the boss.
1. REPORT YOUR INJURY.
In Missouri, a worker injured in an accident (meaning a sudden occurrence) has 30 days to report the injury in writing to his/her employer. If the injured worker fails to report the injury within 30 days then the injured worker might lose his right to workers’ compensation benefits under the law, including medical treatment, temporary disability, and permanent disability compensation. That is not always the case, but there is no reason to take chances.
2. Ask for Authorized treatment.
The second step an injured worker should take is to ask for authorized treatment from the employer, if the injured worker believes he is in need of treatment. Under Missouri workers’ compensation law, the employer is only obligated to pay for treatment if the employee makes a request for treatment. And if the employee makes a request for treatment, then the employer has the right to choose, or “authorize”, where the employee must go for treatment.
Generally, if the treatment is not pre-authorized by the employer, then the employer is not obligated to pay for the treatment. The exception to this rule is when the employer either refused to authorize care within a reasonable time period following a request for treatment or if the need for treatment is an emergency situation.
3. Contact an Attorney.
The third and final immediate step that an injured employee should take, if they have made a request for treatment and have been refused by their employer, is to contact an attorney. Do not wait. Do not simply hope that the injury will heal on its own or that the claim will eventually be covered by workers’ compensation.
The longer an injured worker waits to seek out an attorney when the claim has been denied and authorized treatment refused or terminated, the more difficult it becomes for an attorney to help the injured worker get treatment and compensation for his/her injury. Most lawyers will tell you honestly over the phone whether they think they might have a case and whether they might be able to help you. If the lawyer isn’t able to do that, then call another lawyer.
If you have been injured on the job, don’t face your situation alone. Contact the Alberhasky Law Firm to set up a free consultation. We’re here to answer any questions you have and fight for the compensation you deserve.
About the Author
When it comes to workers’ compensation cases, Randy Alberhasky has over 25 years of experience. During his legal career he has personally tried over 200 workers’ compensation hearings and jury trials in courts throughout the State of Missouri. Many people who have suffered from a workplace injury and illness are unaware of the legal action they can take to receive the financial compensation that they deserve. The Alberhasky Law Firm, P.C. is proud to help our clients receive the compensation they deserve.