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Being injured on the job is hard enough as it is, but add all the steps you need to take and the paperwork you must fill out, and a headache might quickly accompany your injury. Although company policies may differ, the state and federal laws surrounding injuries sustained on the job are pretty clear. Here’s a quick guide to what to do if you’re injured on the job.

Seek medical attention

If the injury you’ve sustained is major and requires emergency medical attention, then you should seek medical attention right away at the closest hospital or emergency room available. If your injury is minor or doesn’t require immediate medical attention, then alert your supervisor as to what happened, as detailed in step two. In nonemergency situations, you should visit a health care provider authorized by your employer and by your state’s Workers’ Compensation Board.

Alert your employer

Let your employer know as soon as possible about your injury and what caused it. In emergency situations, focus on finding medical attention first, and make it a point to inform your supervisor in writing at the earliest moment you can. In nonemergency situations, tell your supervisor as soon as the injury occurs, and back yourself up by submitting details of your injury in writing. Most states allow up to 30 days to report an injury, but it’s best to simply inform your employer as soon as possible. If you wait too long to report your injury, your employer may dispute your claim, and you could end up losing your rights to worker’s compensation benefits.

File the right forms

The health care provider you see will most likely ask you to sign a Form A-9, which is a legal document stating that you, the injured worker, might be responsible for paying the medical bills in the event that the Workers’ Compensation Board disallows the claim or that you fail to pursue your claim. Make sure to fill out a Form C-3 as well. Your employer should provide this quickly after you make a claim. Send your completed C-3 to the nearest Workers’ Compensation Board office.

Just note that any injuries that occurred while you were under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs are not covered under workers’ compensation laws or insurance.

Consult a lawyer, if necessary

Not all workplace-related injuries require legal counsel, although many do. If your employer claims not to have any workers’ compensation insurance, then contact a lawyer immediately. If you were injured due to your company’s neglect, or if you have another reason you think you may have a case against your employer, then talk to a lawyer about a personal injury lawsuit. Discuss your options with your lawyer to determine whether you may be better off with a structured settlement or if your case should go to trial.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.