What Should I Do If I'm Hurt at Work in Utah?
A brief summary of steps to take after you have been hurt at work in Utah.
Report the AccidentAfter you've been hurt at work, you must report the accident to your employer. In Utah, there is a time limit of 180 days to report the accident, but it's much smarter to report it quicker. Frequently, injured workers are involved in an accident and hesitate to report it to their employer for fear of retaliation, or worse, termination from their jobs. (Employers are not supposed to retaliate if you file a workers' compensation claim, but that is a separate legal issue). The result of not reporting the accident could result in a worker obtaining medical treatment for several weeks, and then reporting the accident to the employer at some point after you've already obtained treatment. From an employer's perspective, and even sometimes on paper in the file, when treatment is obtained before an accident is reported, it can be argued that you got hurt somewhere outside of work because it wasn't reported before you obtained medical treatment.
Reporting the accident to your employer doesn't necessarily need to be a formal accident or incident report, although it usually is. But in some cases, a simple text message or e-mail to your employer, notifying he or she of the accident, might suffice. But it's always wise to have something in writing so that you can prove you reported the accident if it ever becomes an issue.
Receive Medical TreatmentDelays or gaps in medical treatment can be harmful to your workers' compensation case down the road. It's always wise to seek medical treatment after you have been hurt at work and to be consistent with receiving that treatment. If there is a delay or treatment gaps, then on paper, it might look like you weren't hurt all that bad if you didn't get treatment for your injuries.
Payment for Time Off Work / Light DutyIf you've been hurt and can't work, then you should be sure to have a doctor take you off work and provide that work release to your employer. If your doctor places you on "light duty" or "modified duty" then you should notify your employer about your work restrictions so your employer has an opportunity to attempt to accommodate your restrictions with a light duty assignment.
If you have been taken off work completely, or if you're on light duty but your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions, then you will likely have a claim for Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits. These benefits are generally calculated based upon 2/3 of your average weekly wage earned at the time of the accident, with some additional weekly amounts for a spouse and dependent children. TTD benefits are typically paid until you're healed up from your work injury, or a doctor, sometimes the insurance carrier's doctor, gives an opinion that you're injury has stabilized.
Attorney ConsultationIf your doctor does not believe you've stabilized but the insurance company's doctor does, then it is definitely time to consult with an attorney to properly analyze your options and potential claims. While returning to work should always be the goal, so long as you are physically capable of working, sometimes this is not always possible, in which case you might need to engage an attorney to file a claim with the Utah Labor Commission, which is the administrative agency in Utah which adjudicates workers' compensation disputes.