I've fallen and I got up-bruised: Handling workplace accidents


Here's how to handle workplace incidents and injuries.

Q: I'm a veterinary student who works weekends at a practice. I slipped and fell on ice in the parking lot and now I have bruising and pain in my wrist. I need to see a doctor. Should I tell my boss and bring insurance into this?

You should absolutely report the incident to your employer, says Dr. Karl Salzsieder, JD, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and consultant with Salzsieder Consulting and Legal Services in Longview, Wash. Your employer should have workers' compensation and business liability insurance. If you were on the clock when you fell, workers' compensation would cover the expenses. If you were off the clock, then the business liability insurance would cover it. Assuming there's some fault on the part of the practice, the insurance company will have questions about where you fell, the location of the ice in relation to the practice, and whether the employer should have removed the snow and ice in a more timely manner. If there is no fault to the employer, then use your medical insurance to cover your treatment.

Most states require employers to report incidents like this, but the report probably won't harm the employer, Dr. Salzsieder says. So report accidents as soon as possible—insurance companies require timely reporting to cover the claim.

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