If you’ve been hurt at work in Virginia, there are three steps to follow:
In this blog series, we’ll break down what to do in each step to set you up for success in your worker’s compensation claim. This week, we’re covering how to tell your boss that you’ve been injured at work.
You’re doing your job as usual, but then something suddenly goes wrong. You’re a nurse and when moving a patient, something in your shoulder suddenly felt funny and you couldn’t use your arm anymore. Or you’re a construction worker and a vibration knocked a hammer down off a pile of wood, landing directly on your wrist, and you think you broke a bone. What’s the next step?
After the injury, go directly to your supervisor or boss and tell them exactly what happened. You can tell your boss in person, if you are in the same location, or over the phone if you’re in a different location. You’ll want to tell them the order of events and the names of anyone who saw the injury occur. Don’t speculate about what might have been done to prevent the injury, or who might be at fault. Don’t try to hide anything. Just say exactly what happened.
If your supervisor or boss is not available, tell the next highest person who is available, such as your boss’ boss. You must tell someone above you; just having a coworker know is not enough.
While it can be hard when you’re in pain, be calm. Don’t make any threats or promises of retaliation against any people or against the company.
If your injury is severe and needs emergency medical care, tell the emergency workers that you were injured at work. If you were unable to do so before you received the emergency medical care, tell your boss that you were injured at work to start the worker’s comp claim process.
You should tell your boss as soon as possible after your injury occurs. In Virginia, you have up to thirty (30) days to report the injury to your employer after it happens, but reporting it immediately or as soon as possible lets you start the worker’s comp process sooner and receive medical treatment faster.
After you report your work-related injury, your employer or their workers’ comp insurance company will give you a choice of at least three (3) doctors to treat your injury. You will choose one (1) doctor from this panel to provide treatment. If your job doesn’t give you a panel of doctors to choose from, you can choose your own doctor to provide treatment.
The next part in this blog series will cover talking with your doctor.