Have you sustained an injury at work?
As much as that question sounds like the opening line for an attorney’s commercial, there are important steps to take if you’ve been injured on the job.
The following five steps will help you get back into the swing of things.
1. Keep Detailed Records
After sustaining a workplace injury or illness, it’s crucial to keep detailed records. You’ll need documentation in the event that you have to defend against any disputes or denials from your insurance company.
Be sure to get contact information for potential witnesses. And hold on to any claim forms, doctors’ reports, or accident reports. Also, be sure to keep any correspondence you have with your employer or the insurance company, as well as any workers’ comp forms you filed.
You may also want to keep a pain journal to document how pain is impacting our ability to function. While workers’ compensation claims don’t cover pain, it could be helpful if there are insurance company disputes or a third-party claim is involved.
2. Know Your Rights
Workers compensation laws vary from state to state. But regardless of where you live, they’re designed to protect you. After suffering an injury at work – or becoming ill as a result of an unhealthy workplace – you could be eligible for paid medical care from your employer.
And depending on the extent of your injury, you may also qualify for temporary or permanent disability benefits and supplemental job displacement benefits. Just be sure to notify your employer as soon as possible after your accident or discovery of your job-related illness. State law requires victims to notify their employers within a certain time frame to qualify for this help.
3. Come to Terms With Your Injury
Any injury or illness is going to alter your life to some degree. Even if it’s temporary. It’s easy to believe you’ll never get better. And while on the practical level you’ll have to deal with the above two steps, getting your life back on track requires attention to your mental and emotional health as well.
Positive thinking is wonderful, in theory. But allow yourself some time to mourn your injury. Feel the sadness, anger, and even rage. Express them. And then move forward and make the most of your limitations.
4. Nurture Yourself
Once you’ve moved past the grieving, you’ll want to focus on your body, mind, and spirit. This focus is key for getting the optimum from your recovery.
Pass on the junk food and start feeding your body healthy food. Discuss with your doctor acceptable exercise regimes – such as walking, swimming, or Pilates – that will keep your body moving and endorphins flowing. And consider reconnecting with a hobby or finding a new one.
5. Avoid Stress
The fact is, stress can exacerbate the negative effects of your illness or injury. Keep stress from taking over by establishing a regular spiritual practice such as yoga, meditation, or prayer. Simple breathing techniques can also go the distance in relieving stress.
Getting Back on Track After an Injury At Work
To handle an injury at work, keep the above five steps in mind. If you’re able to follow them, you’ll be back on track in no time.
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