When you are injured at work, the resulting pain may prevent you from returning to work right away, and you could find yourself mired in medical bills and late credit card or car payments because of your inability to work. Your employer may ask you to sign some forms that may seem standard for any workers’ compensation case, but before you do, there are a few tips to keep in mind that could help you to protect yourself and your interests during this trying time.
File for Workers’ Compensation
Each state has its own workers’ compensation laws, but if your employer carries compensation benefits and you were injured on the job, you likely qualify for these benefits. Report the injury as soon as you can and – ideally – do not leave your place of work until you do, as this may bring the circumstances of your injury into question. Your employer should have the necessary forms on hand. If you haven’t formally reported your injury yet, don’t panic. You need to act quickly, but, as experienced New York workers’ compensation lawyers – including those who practice with Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. – can confirm, you are likely entitled to take up to a few weeks to report your injury, if necessary. If you just learned that a repetitive stress or other non-accident related injury is work-related, you will also need to act quickly to report the work-related nature of your challenges. If you don’t act quickly, you could be barred from receiving benefits.
Avoid Signing Documents Handwritten by Someone Else
It is important that you do not sign something written in someone else’s handwriting, as this could affect your compensation and the amount you receive. If there is any kind of addendum presented to you, ask your employer about it, what it means and whether you are under any obligation to agree to it in writing. Then, have an attorney review it before you sign it.
Read All Documents Carefully
Signing a paper with fine print or many pages without reading it carefully may lead to a reduction or denial of your benefits, so ask your employer for time to look over any documents to ensure that you understand their details. Ask your human resources representative to help you with any comments or sections that seem unclear or that ask you to waive any rights, including the right to bring a lawsuit if you believe your accident was the result of employer negligence.
Review All Documents with an Attorney
Seeking assistance from an attorney regarding any workers’ compensation forms can help you feel more confident about handling these documents. Some forms may feature dense language that makes them difficult to read, and many lawyers have the experience and know-how to translate legal language in a way that allows you to better understand what you are signing or to let you know if you should sign it at all.
Suffering an accident at work and being unable to return can cause bills to pile up and make you feel as if there is nowhere to turn, but there is help available. Contact an attorney today for further assistance and information.