This is Part 3 of a multi-part series on what to do if you’ve been injured at work.
Read previous parts: Part 1, Part 2
Part 3 – Documenting Your Accident
Following a work-related injury, you should be proactive in creating documentation of your accident above and beyond the paperwork your employer is required to keep. You should approach your co-workers for witness reports and keep records of communications with your employer. The records you create will supplement the records you collected for Part 1 of this guide.
Step 1: Reach out to co-workers
Have your co-workers write out an accident report detailing what they saw. Your co-workers may have seen your accident and may be able to act as witnesses. Their reports should include any specific equipment you were working with, the area you were in, and what you were doing. Example: “Sam tripped on the doorstop at the east entrance to the warehouse and fell while carrying two boxes. He hit his right shoulder on the ground,” is better than, “Sam tripped and fell while carrying boxes.” The more specific witnesses can be, the better. Get personal contact information from anyone who you may need to call on later, as work contact information may change.
Step 2: Send follow-up emails to your supervisor
Create a record of any meetings you have with your supervisor by sending a follow-up email right after your meeting. Recap what you talked about and solicit a response. It is in your best interest to be professional and avoid argumentative language – the purpose of this communication is to serve as a record of your meeting with your supervisor, and it may be the only one. A good way to start a follow-up email is with the phrase, “This email is to confirm our meeting regarding…” An email summary of your meeting has the benefit of being easy to retrieve and, if you receive a response, confirmed by your supervisor.
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