YOU MUST take CONTROL as soon as possible!
Don't count on the : Company, the Insurer, your Attorney or your Doctor to "handle everything" for you! Be proactive! Protect yourself and collect all of the information you can reguarding the incident. Make copies and store with a family member or friend that you can trust.
- Report the accident as soon as possible!
- your employer
- and your union, if you have one.
- Workers Compensation
- OSHA if it is a serious accident or is a result of negligence on the part of the employer.
Report it to :
- Immediately Start a Journal!
Hopefully you will already have a personal journal, diary or log of your workplace activities. This is in addition to any records that your employer may have you make for them as they may not be availabl to you if/when you need them. If not start one immediately! Keep notes on everything that is said and done, who said it or did it, when, and any witnesses. If possible make copies of any records you make for your employer. Keep all of your notes in a bound periodical such as a spiral notebook, log book, calendar or a diary. This will help prove you haven't added anything later! It will help refresh your memory months later should you need to provide details to an insurer or government agenciy or in court.
- Keep Copies of EVERYTHING!!!
That includes any phone messages, letters, disability checks, workman's comp. checks, legal paperwork, minutes or notes from any meetings with the company, your doctor, the company doctor, ect... Keep copies of all of these at another location such as a safe deposit box, your parents, siblings or children's house.
- Pick Your Own Doctor as soon as you can do so carefully.
If you already have a primary care physician that feels comfortable treating your injury use him/her as they already know a lot about you. If they feel a specialist is needed get them to recommend/refer you to one. Do not be satisfied to use the company's doctor or clinic as they may be biased or swayed by pressure applied by the company. If there is any dispute as to whether you were injured or are capable of returning to work your doctor will have the say over any company doctor.
- Learn to Ask the Following Questions :
- How am I progressing in my healing?
- What strategies are we taking?
- Are these normal procedures or radical measures?
- What are the deadlines for the work?
- What are the penalties for missing the deadline?
- When do we get back together with each other to review our work?
- Bring a witness to any doctor visits, attourney consultations, or meetings with the company or union whenever possible!
Have them initial your diary or notes that they were there with you and heard and/or saw the same information that you did. If you can use the same person/people for multiple visits ask them to keep their own notes like yours.
taken from a card prepared by:
Louisiana Injured Workers Union Education Fund
1 (800) 725-HURT
additional information added by Jim Schultz through experience of being injured on the job.