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Should you talk with an attorney after a workplace accident?

Certain industries may be more physically demanding than others. Yet even an office worker may need to be mindful of workplace injuries, such as repetitive stress injury, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or lower back or neck issues. According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, around three million workplace injuries occur every year. Accordingly, it is important for employees in any industry to understand the procedures that they should follow after suffering an on-the-job injury.

First, it is important to report an accident to one’s supervisor. Although the determination of workers’ compensation benefits may not be up to that individual, he or she will nevertheless play a role in documenting the incident, as well as writing down the names of any witnesses to the accident. If medical attention is required, a supervisor may also assist in contacting appropriate medical personnel.

Although an injured worker should be truthful to his or her supervisor, it is unlikely that this first procedural step will involve a thorough investigation and reporting. Indeed, a supervisor may only ask enough questions as necessary to contain the accident, start the paperwork and obtain help from medical personnel or other authorities.

The more detailed account will come later, perhaps when the employer’s insurance company approaches a worker. At this stage, we advise against making any statements outside the presence of one’s attorney. The insurance company’s interest may even be at odds with the employee’s, to the extent the company representative is attempting to minimize the amount of benefits and treatments authorized under the applicable workers’ compensation policy.

Source: Huffington Post, “How to Avoid Workplace Injuries,” Stephanie R. Caulde, May 9, 2016

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