Sustaining an injury in the workplace can lead to significant pain and suffering as well as financial setbacks. This is particularly true for back injuries that can affect just about every aspect of your daily life. Here, we want to discuss how you should handle a back injury at the workplace. Our Chicago workers’ comp lawyers want to cover reporting requirements as well as the steps that you can take to ensure that you recover maximum compensation for your injury.
1. Report the Injury Immediately
It is crucial that you report your injury to your employer or immediate supervisor as soon as possible. Under Illinois workers’ compensation laws, you actually have 45 days to report a workplace injury to your employer. However, we do not recommend waiting this long. The sooner you report the injury, the more likely you will be able to find evidence to support the claim. Insurance carriers and employers are very skeptical of injury claims filed long after the injury occurs.
2. Seek Medical Care
Your number one priority after sustaining a back injury at work is to seek medical care. Do not put off medical treatment. Do not go home and simply put ice on your back. You need to go to the doctor for an initial evaluation. Not only does this ensure your well-being, but it also establishes a direct link between the workplace incident and your back injury. This will be important when it comes to making a timeline of events so that insurance carriers and your employer can see that you took the injury seriously and that they should, too.
3. Document Everything
You need to keep documentation of everything that occurs. If you are able to do so, take photographs of the area where your injury occurred and any possible causes of the injury. Keep a record of all doctor visits as well as any expenses you incur as a result of the workplace injury. If there were any eyewitnesses to your injury, get their names and contact information as soon as possible.
4. File Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
We always suggest filing a workers’ compensation claim at the same time that you report your workplace injury. However, Illinois law allows work injury claims to be filed up to three years after the date an accident occurs in situations where no compensation has been paid (only if the injury was reported within the initial 45-day limit). If compensation has been paid for the work injury, the workers’ compensation claim must be filed within two years from the date of the last payment of compensation.
5. Keep Receipts
You need to keep track of any expenses you sustain as a result of your back injury. Not only does this include medical bills that start coming in, but also complete documentation of lost wages as well as receipts that show any household out-of-pocket you incur. Additionally, we encourage you to keep a daily journal where you discuss your overall pain and suffering caused by the back injury. Back injuries can lead to excruciating pain that keeps you from carrying out your day-to-day activities. You may be entitled to compensation for these various pain and suffering damages.
6. Continue Medical Care
You must continue all medical treatment until your doctor says you have reached maximum medical improvement. If you choose to discontinue care before your doctor recommends that you do so, this could seriously jeopardize your claim.