A spinal cord injury is devastating to your life in every way. Recovery is a daily, lifelong process.

Spinal cord injury victims, like all Georgia workers, have workers’ compensation rights. Take steps to safeguard those rights.

Steps to take when you have suffered a spinal cord injury

Report your spinal cord injury and its cause to your employer as soon as possible. Missing reporting deadlines can complicate your case.

Get immediate medical attention. Provide medical personnel details about your spinal cord injury and the accident. Medical records are key in any workers’ compensation case.

Keep a comprehensive file about your injury. Among other things, the file should include:

  • Medical bills and records
  • Statements from witnesses and their contact information
  • Photographs of the accident scene and your injuries

You may need help with some of these tasks if you have a spinal cord injury that limits your mobility. Find someone you can trust, such as a co-worker or union representative. Remember that a manager or supervisor may have a conflict of interest.

Always be completely honest in your dealings with everyone involved in your claim. What may seem like an innocent oversight can undermine your case.

Steps to avoid when you have suffered a spinal cord injury

Improve the chances of your claim by following the rules and common sense. Watch out for the following:

  • Do not assume your employer will report your injury to its workers’ compensation insurance carrier. File your own claim with the state. Send copies to your employer and the carrier.
  • Do not change doctors without permission from the workers’ compensation insurance company.
  • Do not discuss your claim with anyone other than your spouse and trusted representatives. The insurer may attempt to use your words against you.
  • Do not hold health information back from your doctor. Detail all your symptoms and any previous medical problems worsened by your injury. Reporting injuries later can look suspicious.

Your next steps can determine your future

The workers’ compensation system is complex, and the rules may frustrate you. However, you can work to secure your future as you recover from a spinal cord injury. Knowing your rights as a worker can help you protect them.