What to Do if Your Work Injury or Illness Is Caused by Another's Negligence or Dangerous Conduct
- Follow all the same steps (A-G) suggested for a Workers’ Compensation claim (from Question #5) plus steps H-M below:
Steps for a Worker’s Compensation Claim
A.Contact your employer and report the injury or illness. Use a company form, if one is provided. If a company form is not provided, write down the fact the you reported the injury or illness to your employer, along with the date and time of the report and the name of the person you reported it to. If possible, keep a copy of whatever document you used to report the injury or illness.
B.Get appropriate medical care and while doing so, be sure to give the doctor or other care provider a complete and accurate description of the accident that caused the injury or the work activities or conditions you believe caused your work illness.
C.Take down the names and addresses of any and all witnesses to either the accident that caused your injury or the work conditions or activities that caused your illness.
D.Make copies of any and all work restrictions that your doctor gives you. Keep a copy and give the original to your employers.
E.Keep track of all time off work.
F.Do not sign any documents unless you fully understand the documents. If there is any doubt in your mind about what the documents mean, you should contact an experienced, qualified Workers’ Compensation lawyer.
G.If you have not received Workers’ Compensation benefits or notice that you will be receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits within a reasonable time period (usually 30 days), you should contact a competent, qualified Workers’ Compensation lawyer.
Additional steps in cases of negligence or dangerous conduct
H.Make a claim as early as possible against the responsible party, either by writing their insurance company in the event of a motor vehicle accident, or contacting the owner of the property where you were hurt, such as a truck stop or other common location for a work-related accident that is someone else’s fault.
I.Do not give a recorded statement unless you have legal counsel present.
J.Consult with an attorney in the location where you were actually injured to determine what law or laws should be invoked to properly coordinate and maximize the benefits from the workers’ compensation and the fault claim.
K.Photograph the scene of the accident or the instrumentality of harm in as much detail as you can. Photographs are much more important in personal injury claims than they are in Workers’ Compensation cases. Where at all possible, document what occurred to you with pictures as well as words.
L.Make a special effort to get witness names and addresses. In cases where you need to prove that someone else is at fault, eyewitness testimony is much more important and much more necessary than in a Worker’s Compensation case in order to obtain a successful recovery.
M.Start a diary in which you record day-to-day symptoms and disabilities. You get paid for pain and suffering, disability and loss of enjoyment of life on a personal injury claim. Keeping a diary of how the accident affects your life is the best way to document and record these problems for later use in court. In the event of severe injuries, videotaping or photographing the day-to-day struggles would be advisable as well.