I intended to write a quick article about how workplace accident rates increase every year around the holidays due to increased hours, heavier customer traffic, or racing to get tasks done before time off. And while those things are important for every worker to be aware and careful of, I realized that there are a million articles like that, but more importantly, if you’re reading this you’ve probably already suffered an injury at work.
So, what do you need to be extra careful of as an injured worker this holiday season? Here are a few biggies:
#1 – Don’t Overdo it.
It’s easy to convince yourself that holiday traditions must be kept, and as much as the kids and grandkids love that 300-pound inflatable, light-up, glowing, flashing Santa Clause on your roof every year, it’s not worth making your injury worse. If your doctor has restricted you from lifting, climbing, bending, etc., to the point you are off from work, what do you think he or she would say about you hauling that Griswold-size tree in and out of the house, or climbing on the roof to string a million twinkle lights?
Making an injury worse at home doing things that aren’t considered “activities of daily living” can also have serious impacts on your claim as well as your health. If there are extra tasks you simply can’t avoid, just remember to listen to your body, take lots of breaks, and don’t go crazy just because it’s what you usually do at Christmas.
#2 – Keep your Appointments with your Lawyer.
Life can be busy this time of year, but meetings with your worker’s compensation lawyers, doctors, physical therapists, as well as vocational counselors must remain the priority. If you don’t attend, or repeatedly reschedule appointments like these, you could find yourself at odds with your doc, regressing medically, or in a “non-cooperative” status with your claim manager which could suspend your time loss payments. Wouldn’t that be a nice Christmas surprise?
#3 – Stay on Top of your Paperwork.
If you’ve read anything I’ve written about Work Status Forms you know that I question their value and impact on the Washington Department of Labor and Industries budget. That being said, they are required and your claim manager can suspend your time loss benefits if you go too long without filling them out and returning them. Failing to fill out other paperwork requested by your claim manager can have the same result, so as easy as it is to stick them on the fridge with a magnet and think you’ll get to them later, don’t do it. If you have authorization for medical release forms, work history forms, or anything else your claim manager has asked you to complete and send back, don’t delay. Grab a glass of ‘nog and fill those things out (or call us to help).
Seek Help with a Worker’s Comp Lawyer
If you suffer a workplace injury this season, or you already have a claim and have some questions, contact Carlisle & Byers for a free consultation.