1. Tell your supervisor about the injury or accident as quickly as possible. (The deadlines are different in each state and for some states you only have a few days to notify your employer.) Some workers wait a few days to report their injury if the company automatically tests for drugs after accident. Tell your supervisor if you need immediate medical attention. Make sure that you get copies of any paperwork, accident reports, etc.

2. Call the state workers’ comp office. Keep notes about the answers to your questions:

  • do you have to file a separate claim with them?
  • what are the timelines you must follow?
  • do you have the right in your state to go to your own doctor?
  • review your situation with them and what you have done so far

3. Get medical care quickly. Workers' Comp should pay for your medical treatment. Go to an Emergency Room if you you have an emergency. In some states you have the right to be treated by a doctor you choose. Other states let the company choose the doctor (for the first 30 to 90 days). There are a few states that don’t let workers choose their own doctors at all. If you have the right, send the company a letter saying that you want to be treated by your own doctor. Keep a copy.

4. Make sure that a Workers’ Comp claim is filed. Your boss may give you the form, but it is your employer’s responsibility to submit the paperwork. Ask for a copy of the claim.

5. Be clear about how serious your medical problem is and why it is work related every time you talk to a doctor, someone from the company, or Workers’ Comp. If anyone asks you about your injury, just say “we’ll have to see what the doctor says.” If you talk about an old football injury, how soon you hope to be back at work, or how much better you feel, they will say that your injury is not so bad or not work related.

6. Keep all your appointments. Your boss can use it against you if you miss any scheduled medical appointments.

7. Keep good records of your medical treatment, every letter you send, every form or medical slip you turn in to the company or the Workers’ Comp office. Write a statement with everything you can remember about how you were injured and who witnessed it. Keep copies of all letters from your employer or the insurance company, including the envelopes they came in (to show when they were sent). Note on each document the date when you got it. Keep track of when you missed work and when you got medical treatment. Use the Checklist in the Resource Box on this page.