Six Steps You Should Take Immediately Following a Workplace Accident in Pennsylvania

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 2.2 million workplace injuries in 2021, an increase of 6.3% over 2020. Slip and fall accidents, for example, are one of the most commonly reported workplace injuries. 

The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system provides limited compensation to injured workers. It is important to take the following steps after an accident to preserve the value of your claim.

1. Examine the Injury

Your first course of action is examining the injury to determine whether hospital treatment is necessary. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Some types of injuries, such as head injuries and soft tissue injuries, take time to manifest symptoms. If your company has a first aid officer, have them examine your injuries.  

2. Seek Medical Attention

There are two reasons to seek medical attention after a workplace injury—the medical reason and the legal reason. Obviously, the medical reason must predominate. Nevertheless, prompt medical treatment can yield valuable evidence. Your medical records provide documentation of:

  • The nature of your injuries; 
  • The date and time that you sought treatment;
  • The doctor’s diagnosis;
  • The treatment you received;
  • Your response to treatment;
  • The date that you reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI); and
  • Your medical expenses.

Since medical personnel have no vested interest in the outcome of your case, they make excellent third-party witnesses. Medical records include some of the most powerful evidence that you are likely to have available to you.

3. Report the Accident to Your Employer

File an accident report with your employer as soon as possible. A mere verbal report is not enough–you should provide a full written report. If your injuries prevent you from doing this yourself, have a friend or relative do it. Deliver your report to your supervisor or manager. Providing this report promptly could be critical to your workers’ compensation claim.

4. Obtain Contact Details of Witnesses

Get the contact details of any witnesses as soon as you can. This might be relatively easy if they are all co-workers. Your lawyer might want to interview them later.

5. Document the Accident

Write a narrative of the accident while your memory is still fresh. Feel free to revise it for accuracy and flow. Gather all documents related to the accident, including your own related expenses. Keep a “pain journal” in which you record your pain and suffering and document how your injury has impacted your life. Your pain journal could come in handy if you find a second defendant you can sue in court.

6. File a Workers’ Compensation Claim (If Applicable)

The workers’ compensation system offers both advantages and disadvantages. You do not have to prove your employer was at fault, for example, and you can win your claim even if you were the one at fault. However, you cannot file a lawsuit, and your compensation is limited to medical expenses, a portion of lost earnings, and certain other allowances. You cannot claim non-economic damages, which severely limits your maximum compensation.

If you can find another defendant (other than your employer), however, you might be able to exit the workers’ compensation system, file an ordinary personal injury lawsuit, and seek non-economic damages. The only disadvantage of this approach is that you will have to prove that the defendant was at fault for the accident.

A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Guide You Through the Process

Even though workers’ compensation proceedings do not take place in court, you still have the right to legal representation throughout the process. Fortunately, you can afford legal representation even if you are in a tough financial spot. Your lawyer will probably charge you legal fees based on the amount you recover–meaning that if you lose, you pay nothing. 

Search for the right lawyer online and schedule a free initial consultation as soon as you can. You are not obligated to hire a workplace accident lawyer if you are dissatisfied after the consultation. However, do your best to secure a lawyer soon after your accident.

If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 955-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963