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What Evidence Should You Gather Immediately After a Work Accident?

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What Evidence Should You Gather Immediately After a Work Accident?

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Work injuries are remarkably common, and workers’ compensation laws may vary between states and may or may not be sufficient to cover the expenses incurred by a work injury. In some cases, you may even be eligible to file a personal injury claim in addition to workers’ compensation. Regardless of how you decide to seek compensation for a work injury, it is imperative that you collect specific evidence regarding the accident to keep in a safe place to prove the situation to not only your employer, but to support your personal injury claim in the event that you decide to file. Collecting evidence from the scene of the accident is especially imperative if a third party was involved in the accident, like a negligent driver or a defective piece of machinery. If you are unable to collect evidence from the scene due to your injury or receiving medical treatment, send a trusted co-worker, friend, or family member to gather evidence in your place.

Evidence to gather after a workplace accident:

  • Photos: Any photos of the scene of the accident, vehicles involved, property damaged in the accident, faulty equipment, out-of-date protective gear, as well as any other aspect that may have led to the accident should be taken and stored in a safe place where there is no risk of the photos being lost or deleted. If possible, it may also be beneficial to take a photo or request a copy of the official accident report from your employer.
  • Videos: Similar to photos, if possible it can be useful to take videos of the surroundings where the accident occurred. This is a good way to record evidence over a wider area, and may also be useful for recording witness testimonies if a witness is willing to be recorded. Like with photos, these videos should be kept in a safe place where they won’t be lost or deleted.
  • Witness information/testimonies: It’s a good idea to immediately gather the contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident. If possible, you may even record some testimonies from these witnesses to establish that the accident occurred as you recall it happening. If your employer has doubts regarding the facts of the accident or you later desire to file a personal injury claim, having the contact information of witnesses to the accident on hand is invaluable.
  • Medical records: Even if the injuries sustained in a workplace accident feel mild at first, it’s still a good idea to visit a medical professional and have them evaluate and record the injury in your medical records. Some injuries may take days or even weeks to feel, and toughing it out or waiting to seek medical care for other reasons could result in an insurance company claiming you couldn’t have been that hurt to begin with if you were able to wait to seek care.
  • Maintenance records: Any types of records which indicate that a piece of equipment was not serviced when it should have been, or otherwise indicate that safety measures are not being kept up should be preserved. A good way to go about this is to take a picture of the maintenance records if making a copy isn’t possible.
  • Written safety procedures: It’s wise to take a picture of any safety signage posted around the workplace, as well as to keep any written safety procedures or manuals provided to you by the employer in your possession. These may later be referred back to if it is necessary to prove that an employer was negligent in regard to employee safety.

Notify your supervisor in addition to the human resources (HR) department immediately after a workplace accident.

It is essential to notify your supervisor as well as the human resources (HR) department of your company if one exists as soon as possible after a workplace accident occurs. This ensures there will be an official record of the accident to refer back to. It is a primary responsibility of the employer to provide safe working conditions and adequate safety protocols to their workers, and this includes offering prompt medical and financial compensation for injuries incurred on the job.

There is a time limit within which you must report the accident/injury or forfeit the opportunity for compensation.

Any action you take after a workplace accident needs to happen swiftly. If the statute of limitations for the injury ends before you are able to file for workers’ comp and/or a personal injury claim, there isn’t much an attorney can do for you anymore. It should be noted that contacting a workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible after a workplace accident may ensure you greater control over your choices in medical treatment.

Notify OSHA and other state applicable agencies to investigate if you suspect the accident occurred due to negligence.

OSHA and other employee protection agencies exist to hold employers to a higher standard of employee safety and treatment. If a workplace accident occurs and you think negligence might be a factor in the case, or if an employer seeks to retaliate against you for filing workers’ comp, it is imperative that you file a timely complaint with the proper authorities, or contact an attorney so they may do so on your behalf.

There are a few specific circumstances in which an employee may be eligible to file a personal injury claim against their employer.

If a workplace accident occurred due to employer negligence or failing to provide adequate safety protection, or if an employer fails to provide workers’ comp insurance, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim against your employer. If possible, it is recommended that you file your workers’ compensation claim first in order to begin receiving immediate compensation to cover medical bills and lost wages. If you are unsure of whether you are eligible to sue your employer directly, or if you have been in a workplace accident and are unsure what evidence from the scene is pertinent to your case, contact an attorney to learn more and discuss your rights as an employee.

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