How familiar are you with the worker’s compensation system? If you’re like most employees, then you’re probably clueless. Most of us never quite bother with these things until we have to, which only happens after suffering an accident on the job.
When the unfortunate happens, you realize that filing workers’ compensation is quite the complicated process. In fact, most employees make so many mistakes when filing the claim that they end up jeopardizing their chance of getting a worthy compensation, or any compensation at all.
Some of these mistakes are entirely avoidable, and it’s not right that you are denied compensation, not because of its legitimacy, but because, as the employee, you failed to meet the requirements.
How to Claim Workers’ Comp
When you suffer an injury on the job, there are certain procedures you need to follow and requirements you need to meet to get before filing workers’ compensation. While you’ll find that different states have different systems in regards to workers comp, all states require filing the claim within a given period.
You need to know how to claim workers’ comp in your state and do as required so the insurance can pay the claim.
In this post, we have listed some of the most common mistakes you can avoid to get worthy workers’ compensation.
1. Not Reporting the Injury Immediately
Perhaps the most crucial thing you can do is report the injury to your employer as soon as it happens.
In general, according to the law, you have 30 days after the accident to report the injury to your employer. While there may be an exception to the rule, or an extended time depending on the state, you should make the report in writing within 30 days.
Typically, your employer will ask you to fill an incident report and give you workers compensation forms so you can proceed to file the claim. The thing is, putting it in writing creates a precise timeline about the injury. Any delays will make it appear as if the injury is not as serious or as severe as you claim it to be.
The Workers’ Compensation Act also requires that employees file the claim with the commission within two years of the incident. If you fail to do this, it will negate your claim and diminish any chances of getting compensation. It’s advisable to file the claim as soon as you’re able to.
2. Not Getting Medical Treatment Right Away
As soon as you get injured on the job, you must get medical attention right away. Regardless of your injuries, you need to have medical documents to file the claim.
You may also not realize the severity of your injuries, and waiting too long could make it worse.
Most employers also deny compensation to employees who take too long to seek medical help, citing that the injuries were not severe enough. They may even argue that the injury was not sustained on the job, especially if you did not report it. Besides that, you also need to see the medical practitioners on your employers’ list for the claim to be valid.
Once you report the accident, your employer should provide you with a list of doctors on the company list. If you see a doctor outside that list, even if it’s your family doctor, you risk getting your compensation.
Beyond that, you should not miss any scheduled doctor appointments so you can provide a detailed medical report while filing worker’s compensation.
3. Not Seeking Benefits
Most often than not, employees fail to seek worker’s compensation benefits after sustaining injuries on the job. Some employees assume that the accident was their fault hence they don’t qualify for compensation. Others think that the filing process is too arduous and not worth it.
On the contrary, as long as you are on the job, even if you have an accident in a company car, you need to file for worker’s compensation.
Once you are hurt, you may need to stop working and earning for your family. Your hospital bills will start piling up, and you may even lose that job for missing work.
For these reasons, you need to report the accident and file the claim so the bills will be paid for, and you’ll have time to rest without worrying about your job. Even if you were partly at fault for the accident, you could still claim the benefits.
4. Returning to Work Too Soon
When filing workers’ compensation, you must understand what will hurt your case, and going back to work too early is one of those things. You see, the insurance company needs to find a way to minimize the compensation coming to you, and they’ll ask the employer to find a way to get you back to work.
The problem is unless your doctor authorizes the kind of work you can do and whether it’s alright to go back to work, their company could use this against you. They will cite that the injuries are not that serious since you already went back to work.
5. Talking to the Third Party Administrator
While talking to the third party administrator may seem harmless, you should not forget that their interests lie with the employer first and not you. All employers want to minimize the financial responsibilities that come with each accident. They’ll find any loophole they can to achieve that goal.
The TPA agents will use anything you say against you, even when they seem so friendly, so avoid talking to them, unless you have an attorney with you.
If you must, then offer as little information as possible, or ask them to give you some time to get a lawyer. If you talk about past injuries or quick return to work before the doctor clears you, they will use it against you.
Filing Workers’ Compensation: The Takeaways
While filing workers’ compensation is your right, these are some of the pitfalls that could jeopardize any chances of getting the claim.
As long as you have a professional attorney by your side and avoid these mistakes, then you’ll get what you deserve.
Want to know more about workers’ compensation? Check out our website, where we have all the comprehensive information that you need.