After first suffering an injury, you may not fully understand its severity. In many cases, a relatively minor-seeming injury proves to be much more serious than initially believed, especially if symptoms and signs of trauma do not immediately manifest. If you get injured at work but the injury doesn't seem severe, you may wonder if your injury is even worth reporting.
Something you should know, however, is that your injury report could have a significant impact on how much workers' compensation you receive. That is why you should take certain steps immediately after an on-the-job accident, even if you do not believe your injury to be serious.
The first action you should take after suffering harm at work involves informing your supervisor. No matter what type of incident or injury, your employer needs to know about the situation. If your employer doesn't know that an accident happened, the employer could potentially deny that your injury even occurred on the job.
Next, you should get a professional medical exam of the injury. Again, even if you do not think of the injury as severe, a doctor may notice signs of additional trauma or damage that you did not notice yourself. Furthermore, immediate medical attention could prevent the injury from getting worse.
Third, you should ask for a workers' compensation form, complete the form and return it to your employer as soon as possible. To receive workers' comp benefits, you will need to compete and submit the form.
Also, speak with a workers' compensation attorney about your full range of options. In many cases, workers' comp benefits are denied because of simple, avoidable errors, and a workers' comp lawyer can guide you through the process and help protect your rights.
Waiting to report
If you wait to report your injury until it has worsened -- as many Oklahoma workers unfortunately do -- you could face unnecessary complications in the claim process. In short, it's best to start the documentation of the injury as soon as possible in order to receive the full measure of benefits to which you are entitled.
Even though you may not want to make a mountain out of a molehill when it comes to a potentially minor injury, immediately reporting any work-related injury is in your best interests if the injury turns out to be more severe than you initially thought.