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What do I do if I am injured at work?

Despite the fact that every Australian worker is entitled to a safe working environment, workplace injuries do occur. In fact, they occur quite commonly, and it is not only through major accidents that injuries can be sustained but also over a long period of time through repetitive actions, exposure to certain materials, or workplace bullying.

Due to how often injuries occur in the workplace it is important to know exactly what to do if you find yourself in this situation. Neglecting to take certain steps after the injury is sustained could lead to further pain and suffering or cause difficulties if you try to make a claim for workers' compensation. Here’s what you should do if you are injured at work.

Seek the advice of a doctor

The first thing you should do after suffering an injury at work is seek medical advice. This is important whether you are seriously injured or not because an injury that may not seem too bad immediately after the incident can worsen overnight or over the course of a few days or weeks.

If it is apparent that the injury is very serious then you or someone else should call 000. If your injury does not require the assistance of paramedics you can take yourself to a hospital or your GP for an examination. You should always have a medical professional examine you and prepare notes that you can refer back to in case you need to make a claim.

You do not need to attend the hospital or your GP’s clinic with a representative from your company, but you should let the doctor know that the injury occurred at work.

Take notes and keep evidence

Your employer will make their own records after the incident, but it is important that you collect your own evidence as well.

Simple details about how and when the incident occurred should be written down, even if only saved as a note in your phone for the time being. If you are able to take any photos of where and why the accident occurred then you should also save them.

In addition to the notes, your doctor makes, you should keep detailed notes about your injuries, including if and how they worsen and the effects they are having on your work and life, as well as photos if the injury is a physical one and has resulted in bruising, burns or open wounds.

Other evidence you should collate includes text messages or emails to and/or from your supervisor and colleagues about the incident and any official incident report prepared by your employer.

Don’t rush or feel pressured

You may need to take time off work after suffering an injury and the shock and pain can be unnerving, so it is important that you do not come back to work until you feel you are ready or until a medical professional deems you fit enough to do so. You should also take your time with filling out any forms that your employer requests you complete, even if they pressure you to have them returned quickly.

When you do feel ready to fill out the WorkCover form, you should complete it yourself or ask a trusted person to scribe for you in your own words. Only sign the form if you agree with everything that is written on it. You should never sign anything that you do not agree with or that is not true.

Seek the assistance of a lawyer

If you have been injured at work you may be entitled to workers' compensation. This is essentially a claim against an insurance policy taken out by your employer that is in place to protect you.

As such, employers can sometimes try to become too involved with your claim by offering help or advice, however, it is in your best interests to handle the claim independently. To ensure that you are being offered advice that works in your favour it is prudent to seek the assistance of a workers compensation lawyer who is able to manage your case for you. They can keep track of the important deadlines, prepare reports and liaise with the insurer to save you the stress and worry of navigating the tricky legal process alone.

If you have been injured at work and would like to speak to a workers' compensation lawyer about making a claim, we can help. Call our expert lawyers on (07) 4052 0700.

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