Most employers are honest when dealing with an accident in the workplace. They’re usually insured, and trying to avoid proper treatment and compensation only makes matters worse. Still, if you do have an accident, it’s important not to presume honesty. You need to document the incident in detail as soon as possible.
This means informing the supervisor immediately after a workplace accident, then seeing any first aid representative on staff. You’ll need to give detailed report of what happened so that it can be entered into the workplace’s accident book. The accident book entry needs to be done by law; it’s not just an internal formality. Read the entry carefully to make sure you agree with what’s written before you sign it. If you’re in a union, inform you union representative of the incident the same day if you can.
Also the same day, if possible, see a physician. If you can’t go on the day of the accident for whatever reason (though there’s really no excuse), make every effort to go the following day. Again, examination and treatment are important, but the most important aspect of the medical visit is having your condition documented by a medical expert. Keep a record of any medical reports, tests, prescriptions and other treatments, and save any related received. Document any time taken off for medical visits.
A workplace accident claim is a matter of industrial injury, not personal injury. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a personal injury suit doesn’t apply. You usually cannot sue your employer for personal injury, but in cases that also involve third-party negligence, you may have grounds for financial recovery beyond workers compensation. For instance, if your job involves driving a commercial vehicle, and you’re involved in an accident where the other motorist is demonstrably at fault, he or she can be sued for personal injury.
One common reason that injured employees hold back from taking legal action is that they’re afraid of employer retaliation, but this would be illegal. In North America, and most of Western Europe, employers are forbidden by law from terminating or taking disciplinary action against an employee who files a workplace accident compensation claim.