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What Should I do After a Workplace Accident?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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What should be done after a workplace accident tends to depend on whether a person has had the accident or is taking a report of the accident from another worker. In both instances, maintaining communications with all parties is vital. Those who’ve had an accident or are filing a report on one often have specific work procedures to follow. The issue gets more complicated if an accident occurs, and either of the parties involved don’t agree on what happened. Sometimes this results in lawsuits, but the initial procedures are usually similar.

The basics can be summed up fairly easily. An employee who has just had a workplace accident needs to make management aware of this fact. In some cases, the employee might not be able to walk off the accident site and could be injured badly enough that he or she will need the help and attention of other workers. If the accident is only minor, and it’s safe for the employee to move, he could simply find his supervisor or manager and explain what occurred.

Employees should give a fair account of what occurred. In general, they should not admit that they somehow caused the accident or were at fault. An employer won’t admit this either. The reason for this is that such statements can later be used against a person in any legal proceedings.

If the injury warrants it, company representatives may want the employee to see a doctor, and this is usually free of charge. Some employees have the option of seeing their own physicians who are reimbursed by employers. It should be noted that health insurance fairly frequently deny claims when they believe that another payer, like an employer, is responsible for the payment. Unless the situation is truly urgent, the employee should ask the company how it reimburses for medical care.

In most cases, claims for medical care are quickly paid and if a lasting injury is established, companies typically pay for any ongoing care needs. Any settlement in a workplace accident may include pay for time off to recover. Unless employers try to avoid payment or fight a claim they think is fraudulent, no legal measures are required.

Managers taking reports on a workplace accident follow guidelines set forth by the company. The first thing is to attend to anyone injured and then make sure there isn’t an ongoing hazard posing risk to others. Some companies document the area where the workplace accident occurred with pictures. Bosses will talk to the injured party and might also talk to anybody who witnessed the accident. The company’s insurance representative is typically contacted as well. One person might perform all this, several managers could do it, or most of it could be handled by human resources employees.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Jul 26, 2014

@Pippinwhite -- I've heard of that happening before. I worked a summer at a fast food place. I had the non-skid shoes that were prescribed and slipped on a grease spot in front of the fry bin. I burned my arm and bruised a rib catching myself. I went to the ER and the doctor insisted I go home, rather than going back to work the final two hours of my shift.

My manager was ticked off, but the dude she had mopping the floor didn't do his job, so it was on them. I knew a girl who got severe second degree burns from one of the toasting ovens, and they didn't want her to take any time off. She threatened to sue them, and was fired about two weeks later. I quit on my own. Fast food is the worst.

By Pippinwhite — On Jul 25, 2014

I was working at an equipment rental place and tripped over a floor platform. It wasn't supposed to be there, and I was looking at a printout and tripped over it. I twisted the heck out of my ankle and of course, that triggered a workman's comp claim. I had to do a drug test and get my ankle X-rayed. They didn't want to do anything about it, but since I wasn't acting in an unsafe way or something like that, they had to.

I was fired about a month later, without cause. I'm sure it was the workman's comp claim. I've never worked for such a huge crowd of jerks as I did at that company. It was just miserable. I was well out of there.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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