Workers’ Compensation (Workers’ Comp) is designed to protect workers, like you, who are injured at work. Unfortunately, the process can be complicated and sometimes you have to fight (hard!) to get the benefits you are rightly entitled to.
Your employer and their insurance company will always try to fight your claim. They want to get the best outcome for themselves and pay you less than your injury deserves. Even worse, they can deny your claim!
This can be especially true if you have never been through the process before and don’t know what to expect. These only add to the stress being injured at work causes. This is why it is important for you to know what to do so you can increase your chances of a having a successful claim.
What You Need To Know
If you have been injured at work, here is a list of important things you should know about Workers’ Compensation process:
1. Report Your Injury To Your Employer As Soon As Possible
The Workers’ Comp claim system has precise deadlines. If you are injured or become ill because of work, tell your boss as soon as you are physically able.
If you wait to report the problem, your company can try to say your injury (or illness) was caused by something outside of work.
Even worse, your claim could be denied if you miss the reporting deadlines. There are many potential reasons your claim can be denied (see 10 reasons Workers’ Comp claims are denied), don’t let this your claim be rejected because of missed deadlines.
2. Seek Medical Attention With The Right Person
If you are hurt at work and need medical attention, it is important that you see the right medical professionals.
If you require emergency care you may have no control over where you get medical treatment. But if your injury isn’t an emergency, then you will need to work with your employer (or their insurance company) to see an approved doctor or specialist.
3. Tell Your Doctor You Were Hurt At Work
When you fill out your medical forms and are receiving treatment for your injury, be sure you let your Doctor know you were injured at work.
Doing this will insure your medical records show your injury was work related. Also, under the Workers’ Comp law, you are entitled to have your medical bills covered. Letting your Doctor know you were hurt at work, will make them aware that your employer’s insurance company, and not you, should foot the bill.
4. Keep Your Records
And Make Sure They Are Detailed! Too often valid claims are rejected because of missing records and paperwork (here are 5 things you can do if your claim is denied).
You need to keep a record of everything. These include your accident report, medical forms and reports, mileage to and from the doctor, and records of any expenses.
Remember to be detailed and honest when you fill out paperwork. If you go to the doctor for a broken arm but you also hurt your ankle, list both injuries. Workers’ Comp will not cover injuries you don’t report.
5. Your Employer Should Investigate Your Accident
And You Need the accident report. If you are hurt or become ill at work, your company should complete an accident investigation. They need to collect details about how, when and why the issue happened, and keep relevant security footage, witness statements and photo evidence.
After the investigation, your company is required to compile an accident report. This report is important for your claim. When you get a copy of the report, read it, make sure it’s accurate, and don’t be afraid to speak up if details are not correct.
6. The Insurance Company Will Try To Pay You As Little As Possible
It is in your employer’s and the insurance company’s best interest to keep Workers’ Comp payments small. Insurance companies only see the botton line, and don’t have your best interests at heart.
Big payments are rare in Workers’ Comp, and the insurance company will likely lowball you. You do not have to settle for less than you deserve.
7. You Don’t Need An Attorney
You do not need to hire a lawyer to file a Workers’ Comp claim. You can file your claim and work your way through the process on your own.
8. But You Should Have A Lawyer In Your Corner Because…
Your boss and the insurance company will have a lawyer fighting for them. You deserve the same protection.
Insurance companies know the workers’ compensation system inside and out, and they can try to derail your claim or slash your benefits by using loopholes.
An expert Workers’ Compensation attorney can fight for what you are rightly entitled to. They will also be able to advise you on a rejected claim and file an appeal to have the decision reversed. Here are 7 things a Workers’ Compensation attorney can do that you can’t.
9. It’s Not About Finding Someone To Blame
Workers’ Compensation is not about establishing fault or blame. Unless you were under the influence at work, breaking the law or were injured during horseplay, it usually doesn’t matter if your accident was your fault. If you were hurt at work, it is likely your injuries are covered by Workers’ Comp.
It is illegal for your boss to bully you, cut your hours or harass you because you file a claim. If this happens to you, contact a Workers’ Comp lawyer right away.
The workers’ compensation process can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. A Workers’ Comp lawyer will have your back when you need support themost. They will be able to offer you expert advice and guide you through the complicated Workers’ Comp system. They will also fight for your rights and make sure you get the benefits you deserve.
Disclaimer: For informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for legal advice. If you need legal advice please contact us.