Since 1972, worker injuries and illnesses in the US have dropped from 10.9 per 100 workers to 2.8.

Although better workplace standards and regulations have led to less workplace injury, they still happen. And when it happens to you, knowing what to do next can make or break your recovery and the case for any financial compensation you’re entitled to.

If you’re injured at work, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. But why is that so important and where should you go? Keep reading to find out.

Why It’s Important to Seek Medical Attention

If you’ve been injured at work, you’re likely entitled to workers’ compensation for your injuries. Almost all employers in the US are required to cover the medical expenses of an employee who is injured while working for them.

But, in order to qualify, it’s important that you take the right steps following your injury. The first of these steps is to seek medical attention, which ensures your best recovery as well as your best chances for receiving proper compensation.

When to Seek Medical Attention

You should seek medical attention immediately following your injury. There are two reasons for this.

First, early treatment improves the chances of a successful recovery in any illness or injury. Second, putting off a diagnosis gives your employer the opportunity to argue that your injury or illness was not related to your job. If you go for medical treatment right away, that argument is less likely to hold sway.

Where to Go for Medical Treatment

The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act provides guidelines for workers’ compensation for federal workers. This Act gives workers the right to seek medical attention from any qualified doctor immediately following injury. Workers who don’t fall under the FECA guidelines must look to state laws for direction on where they can get medical treatment.

In some states, workers have the right to choose their own doctor. In other states, employers and insurers have the right to choose what doctor treats your injuries. And states such as California have additional regulations on selecting a doctor for workplace injuries.

Where possible, choose a doctor that you know and trust. At the very least, ensure you’re receiving medical attention from a licensed and credentialed doctor, according to the guidelines governing your workplace.

In some cases, you’ll need to be treated by a doctor who specializes in your injury. For that, has an array of specialists to choose from.

Tell Your Employer

Once you’ve sought medical treatment for an injury, you must report the injury to your workplace. While some states require this notice be in writing, you should always provide written notice of your injury for documentation purposes.

Be sure to file your injury claim at work as soon as possible. This is especially important in states where filing deadlines for workplace injuries are short.

More On Your Health

The most important step after a workplace injury is to seek medical attention. Not only does this ensure your best chances at a speedy and healthy recovery it also gives you a fighting chance at receiving the compensation you deserve. Just be sure you know where to seek medical treatment and file the right paperwork with your employer.

And for more on your health, check out our Health & Fitness archives.