Why Giving First Aid Matters for Workplace Injuries
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Why Giving First Aid Matters for Workplace Injuries

When an employee gets injured in the workplace, bystanders may rush to give first aid. Getting medical attention right away often helps out the injured person, but in some cases it could hurt him or her. It could also impact a workers’ compensation case.

First Aid: What Does It Mean?

The term first aid usually refers to minor, one-time medical treatment. Injuries for which someone administers first aid often do not require any further medical care, or maybe only a quick follow-up visit. This is true even if a doctor or nurse performs the first aid. Injuries that may need first aid could include:

  • Cuts
  • Splinters
  • Burns
  • Scratches
  • Bruises
  • Scrapes
  • Sprains and strains

These types of minor injuries often occur in the workplace. Many offices or worksites have first aid kits available for staff to use as needed, without any requirement to report the injury or use of first aid to their employer.

How Does First Aid Impact Workers’ Compensation?

When an injury is minor, the workers’ compensation insurance company will try to deny the injured worker benefits. Receiving first aid is one sign that the injury may have been minor. For example, someone with a twisted ankle might receive ice and an elastic bandage, while in contrast, someone with a broken ankle might go straight to the emergency room or urgent care.

A minor injury generally does not qualify a worker for workers’ comp benefits unless medical treatment beyond simple first aid is needed or the worker must take more than a day or two off work due to the injury. This policy prevents insurers from being overwhelmed by claims from people who only needed small bandages to treat quickly-resolving injuries. However, this does not mean that people with minor injuries should not report them to their employers.

The truth is that minor injuries can turn out to be much more serious than originally thought. For example, a twisted ankle could actually involve multiple torn ligaments or a hairline bone fracture. Or a person rendering first aid could accidentally contaminate an open wound, leading to a serious infection. As a result, it is a good idea to report even small injuries so that if workers’ comp benefits are needed later, there is a record of the original incident.

Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.