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Know your options: Taking action after a serious workplace accident

It goes without saying that most employees understand that in the event of a very severe accident while on the clock, their first course of action should always be to seek emergency medical care.

What may be less obvious to employees, however, is what to do when they suffer an injury in a workplace accident that while serious, doesn’t quite rise to the level of severe. By way of example, consider a lumberyard worker who drops a heavy tool onto their hand or an office worker who sprains their back while attempting to lift a box of copy paper.

According to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, while employees in this situation should seek medical treatment immediately, they don't necessarily need to seek emergency care.

Indeed, the NCII indicates that these workers should follow the protocol established by their employer, which could take one of the following two forms:

  • If the employer has a designated on-site healthcare provider, report there for treatment for the work injury.
  • If the employer does not have a designated on-site healthcare provider, but has designated an off-site healthcare office, report there for treatment for the work injury.

In the event neither of these scenarios is applicable, the NCII instructs injured employees to use their best judgment for medical care, whether that means going to the nearest emergency room, a local urgent care center or the office of their family physician.

Regardless of where medical treatment is ultimately secured, the NCII dictates that the injured worker should inform the medical provider that their injury is work-related and share the name of their employer. This will help ensure that the treatment provided will be billed as a workers' compensation claim.

We'll continue this discussion in our next post, examining some of the other steps that injured workers in these scenarios should consider taking.

In the meantime, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you've been injured in a work-related accident and your claim for work comp benefits has been denied despite your best efforts to do everything as instructed.

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