Injuries on the worksite happen, it’s a fact of the professional world. Whether you are an office worker, healthcare worker, construction worker, or anything in between, there are times when you cannot avoid suffering an injury that is a result of the duties you perform at your job.
When workplace injuries occur, you are entitled to seek workers’ compensation from your employer that should cover both your pay and medical expenses. Although the idea seems straightforward enough, it is not uncommon for these claims to be rife with potential problems. When such issues with your workers’ comp arise, you must possess the information you need to advocate for yourself in a way that will ensure the best possible result.
Your First Steps In Preparing Your Workers Comp Claim
What many employees do not understand is that workers’ comp insurance carriers will investigate cases and, if they can find a basis to deny a claim, they will. One of the most common errors that employees make after they have suffered a workplace injury is to try and tough it out without visiting their primary care physician or going to the emergency room to be treated.
There are timelines in which an employee must report their injury for a workers’ compensation claim to be accepted. If you fail to report the injury within that timeline, your claim could be denied.
The more time that passes between the injury and the treatment, the more questions may be raised from the insurance carrier doubting the validity of the claim. If you seek treatment right away, you will get not only the treatment you deserve, but also the financial compensation that will allow you to stay out of work to ensure you recover as quickly as possible.
After you have been medically evaluated and have filed your workers’ compensation claim, there will be some idle time that may create some anxiety. Embrace this idle time instead of fighting it. Keep in mind that it is not you who determines when you are fit to return to work; it is your team of medical providers.
What you do not want to do is rush back to work because you feel you need to. Rushing back to work may only cause you further aggravation, especially for injuries to your tendons, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. The best medicine for these types of injuries is rest and treatment.
Luckily, your workers’ comp carrier will be required to provide this treatment for you. However, if you decide to fight the pain and return to work too early, this could preclude you from filing another claim, should the pain later become unbearable.
Workers’ comp carriers have used the return to work arguments in the past. A usual position for these carriers is to state that it is not a workplace injury that has caused you pain, but instead some other issue that you made up to get more time off of work even after you already returned.
The organization of your treatment process is critical. Generating records of each visit to a doctor or specialist will bolster your claim that you are receiving necessary treatment and that the treatment has been consistent and ongoing from the time of the injury. Establishing this timeline is crucial in ensuring your benefits continue to flow until you have reached the end of your medical care.
Don’t Be Bullied-Know Your Rights
Some employees fear retribution from their employer if they file a workers’ comp claim. Employees must understand that they have a legal right to file a claim and retaliation by your employer for doing so is illegal.
Beyond the right to make a claim, if the request is denied, you have a right to appeal this decision to your State Department of Labor. Each state runs their appeal process a little differently. However, the appeal needs to be timely filed; otherwise, your workers’ compensation could be rejected.
Don’t Go It Alone-Find The Right Legal Ally
Insurance companies do not profit off rubber-stamping all workers’ comp claims that come across their desks. They profit from denying claims that they claim they have a basis for rejecting. Given the rigid rules that govern workers’ comp claims, you must find the right legal partner in advocating for your rights, and if need be, to fight back against insurance companies who deny claims without the factual basis to do so.