The aftermath of an injury at the workplace can be so devastating. In addition to the physical pain from the injuries you may have suffered, the medical bills and associated treatment costs can be a pain in the back, not forgetting how emotionally draining it can be when such an injury leads to the loss of income or even disability. To take away most if not all of this burden, this is why in many states and countries the law requires that every employer has workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp dives in to provide financial relief to employees in the event of an accident that leads to injuries.
However, injured employees still have to follow due process when filing for workers’ compensation claims. Before you can receive your benefits, the injured employee also needs to provide enough evidence alongside several supporting documents, not to mention that there are deadlines attached to workers’ compensation claims. How well you understand the entire process, the benefits you’re entitled to, and the various requirements can go a long way in helping you to get a compensation settlement that is fair and just. On this note, here are 7 tips to claim your workers’ compensation.
1. Medical Attention First and Fast
Despite how minor your injury might appear after a workplace-related accident, it’s best to seek medical attention as quickly as you can. This is because you may have suffered some injuries (especially internal ones) that may not be apparent at first, but could rain hell on you in the near or far. Also, the insurance company may not pay your workers’ compensation benefits without a medical report from a reputable medical practitioner, detailing the specifics about the injuries you suffered, costs of treatment, fitness to return to work, and so forth. Remember to keep your own copy of the medical report though.
2. Notify Your Supervisor Immediately About the Incident
If the accident occurred in the presence of colleagues at work, it could be easy to assume that everyone knows about the injuries. However, workers’ compensation requires that you notify your supervisors as soon as you can after sustaining injuries while at work, if not immediately. And let’s be honest, reporting an injury after some time has passed can make it difficult for you to prove that they actually occurred while at work.
3. Don’t Take Too Long To File Your Claim
This is why, unfortunately, most sufferers of workplace injuries go wrong about filing compensation claims. It doesn’t end at informing your supervisors or notifying your employer about your injury. You need to file for workers’ compensation claims as soon as you possibly can for you to actually get the benefits. And as mentioned earlier, worker’s compensation claims have filing deadlines, which may vary from one state to another, which is one of the many reasons you’ll need a personal injury lawyer guiding you through the process, including filing an appeal in case the insurance company denies your claim. But even appeal claims have deadlines too. Justin Kimball of Preszler Law says that often, your deadline to file an external appeal is only one year after the date on your denial letter due to other factors and laws. You don’t only want fair compensation, but you may also want the process to be quicker, so whatever you do, you just have to be keen on the deadlines.
4. Focus on Getting Well
You were at work, an accident happened, and you got hurt. As much as you want to get compensated for the resulting pain and suffering, the benefits may do you no good if you put too much strain on pursuing it. With the right support from an experienced legal counsel, your friends, colleagues, and family, you have all it takes to focus on your recovery as they handle the rest, so make use of the opportunity.
5. Ensure the Claim Is Properly Filed
Workers’ compensation claims involve paperwork from both the injured employee as well as their employer. One of those documents your employer will have to fill in is the “First Report of Injury” form. If you can’t get access to it yet, it’s important to have someone you trust (preferably your attorney) goes through this form to ensure everything is filled in correctly before being sent to the insurance company to minimize the chances of an unfair settlement or denial.
6. Limit Authorizations to Your Medical History
Insurance companies can use the tiniest bit of a negative item from your medical records as an excuse to deny you compensation. You don’t want to lose your benefits, so think twice before authorizing access to your medical records. Unless it’s someone you really trust, it’s best to limit authorization to medical records related to your workplace injury and afterwards.
7. Keep a Journal
There’s a lot to do and deal with in this life, which makes all of us even more vulnerable to forgetting stuff. Keeping a journal with details related to your workplace injury and major occurrences after the incident can help minimize the chances of your Workers’ Compensation claim getting denied. You may also want to note down on paper, what exactly transpired at the time of the accident that caused your injuries.
Even though no one ever wants to imagine getting involved in one, workplace injuries do happen. And when they do, most of them bring physical, emotional, and even financial pain to the victim. With the above tips on filing a workers’ compensation claims, your burden can be lesser and possibly a little more bearable.