Work-related injuries are a major problem. In fact, an average of 510 people get injured at work every hour.
When those injuries happen, you’re faced with medical bills, missing paychecks, and lots of financial uncertainty while you recover. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can help take some of the stress out of your recovery, but you have to act quickly.
The sooner you start the claims process, the easier it will be for you to focus on your recovery. Here are a few of the most important steps to take as soon as you get injured.
Notify Your Supervisor
As soon as you’re able, tell your supervisor that you’ve gotten injured. This helps you start the workers’ compensation claims process and helps show that you were, in fact, injured at work. They’ll likely ask you to fill out an accident report as soon as you can.
This report documents what happened and makes it possible to file for workers’ compensation when you’re able to.
It’s important to remember that not all workplace injuries will qualify for workers’ compensation coverage. The injury must be the result of work-related duties. If you got injured on your break or through your own negligence because you were goofing off, you won’t qualify.
See the Doctor After You Get Injured at Work
After notifying your supervisor of the injury, you’ll need to get checked out by a doctor. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider may have a doctor they want you to use.
Don’t panic. Go to their recommended physician and see what they have to say. If you feel that your injuries are getting dismissed or downplayed, go to your primary doctor for a second opinion.
Remember, the doctor your company’s insurance provider recommends essentially works for that insurance company. It’s in their best interest to downplay your injuries as it will save the insurance provider money on your claim.
Getting a second opinion will help you get the compensation you deserve.
Write Down What Happened
While you can still remember what happened leading up to and during the accident, take the time to write down what happened. Be as thorough as possible.
If people witnessed what happened, record their names and ask them to provide a statement of what they saw.
This information gets used by the workers’ compensation insurance provider to verify your claim. The more information they have, the harder it will be for them to dispute your injuries.
Just make sure you’re honest when writing down what you remember. You could end up getting questioned about the accident by the insurance company down the road. The last thing you want to do is get caught in a lie that could invalidate your claim.
Fill Out a Workers’ Compensation Claim
To get the claims process moving, you’ll need to fill out the necessary paperwork. Ideally, your employer should provide you with the right workers’ compensation forms and will make sure they’re submitted to their insurance company as quickly as possible.
If they don’t, you can get the forms through the state’s workers’ compensation office. Just make sure you keep a copy of the forms for your records. This way, you’ll always have proof of your claim even if things get lost in the mail or your employer fails to notify their insurance provider.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
Insurance companies just don’t want to pay out the full compensation people are due. It’s not in their best interest and the more money they can save, the better.
This means the insurance provider may look for any reason to deny you your full benefits. If they can prove that you’re not following your doctor’s orders to speed up your recovery, they’ll use this information against you to decrease your compensation.
Always do what your doctor tells you. If they prescribe physical therapy, go to the recommended number of appointments. If they tell you that you can’t return to work for a month, don’t start asking for shifts two weeks into your recovery.
If you do engage in activities that go against what your doctor suggests, avoid posting about those activities on social media. This will protect you should the insurance company start digging for proof that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claimed.
Speak with an Attorney
It’s always a good idea to speak with a personal injury attorney when you file a claim. They can intervene on your behalf if an employer tries to retaliate against you or if you get less money than you really need to cover your medical costs.
By speaking with an attorney immediately, you’ll have someone in your corner from the very beginning. If the insurance company denies your claim or gives you too little money, they’ll be able to help you escalate things quickly.
Don’t Settle for a Denied Claim
Unfortunately, not all workers’ compensation claims get approved. This could be because your reported injury isn’t in line with the doctor’s assessment or you may have waited too long to file the claim in the first place.
If your claim gets denied, don’t settle for the denial. Fight for what you deserve.
Contact your attorney and let them represent your case. This way, you’ll know you’re getting the full compensation you’re due and can better cover those unexpected medical costs while you recover.
Did You Get Hurt at Work?
Getting injured at work is tough. Not only do you have to take time off of work to recover, but you’re also forced to pay for those unexpected medical bills without your regular paycheck.
A workers’ compensation claim can help off-set your financial burden, but it’s up to you to make sure everything gets filed quickly and correctly. Even then, you have no guarantee that your claim will get approved.
If you’re unsatisfied with the result of your workers’ compensation claim, don’t wait. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.