Have you found yourself injured while on the job? Well, you may be wondering what to do now. Hopefully, you informed your employer and were treated immediately by your physician or went to an emergency room. If not, that may be a big mistake. Workers’ compensation claim can be difficult and stressful to deal with, but if you are proactive and do your part, it will make it much easier to have a successful claim and benefits that you are entitled to. There are common mistakes that people make after they have been injured while on the job, which makes their workers’ compensation claim difficult to handle.
In this article, we will identify five of the most common mistakes that employees make after an injury has occurred in the workplace. Although this is not an exclusive list and this article does not substitute profession legal advice from an attorney, this is to serve as a guide to help ensure that you are appropriately handling your workers’ compensation claim.
Report your injury to your employer
Although it seems like common sense, many people fail to inform their employer when they have been injured on the job. This is more common when employees do not work in a stationary location or if they have a job that is not in an office setting or where the location changes frequently. Sometimes an injury can be so severe that it is impossible to inform your employer immediately, but in those instances, it is best to notify your employer as soon as you can so that it may be properly documented.
See a physician
Every injury does not result in heavy pain or the pain may not come right away. In these types of instances, the best thing for you to do is to go to the doctor to have your injury examined, no matter what. For example, if something heavy falls on your foot, you pay feel soreness right away, but you may be able to function and feel it is not necessary to go to the doctor. However, you could in fact have severe damage to your toe and the complications may not start until days, weeks or even months later. When you do visit the doctor, it is imperative that you communicate to the doctor exactly how your injury occurred and that it happened in the workplace. This is very important because documentation is very important when dealing with a workers’ compensation claim. If you are not clear and detailed when informing your doctor about your injury, the insurance may deny your workers’ compensation claim and your employer may not compensate you because in reviewing medical records, they may not be able to link your injury to a work accident. Finally, if you do not go to a doctor after your injury, but then have complications later, it will be difficult to prove that your injury was a result of an injury in the work place and are more prone to having your claim denied.
Follow your treatment plan
One of biggest reasons that the insurance company and your employer will deny your claim is because of failure to comply with your treatment plan. If your doctor has ordered any type of therapy, testing or other medical measures, follow them. If you consistently miss scheduled doctor appointments or do not comply with doctor’s orders, the insurance company may request that the Industrial Commission suspend the benefits that are given to the employee. If benefits are suspended, it is a difficult and lengthy process to get the benefits reinstated. The process could take many months and even years. Thus, it is best to avoid this possibility and to just follow any instructions that your doctor gives you as a part of your treatment plan.
Hire an Attorney
Many people are deterred from contacting an attorney after they have initiated a workers’ compensation claim because they think that they can do things on their own, or they may be skeptical that they will receive less money from their settlement. The truth is, an attorney will be able to negotiate a better settlement than what you can negotiate on your own. Attorneys who practice this area of law have experience dealing with both employers and insurance companies and can turn facts that you may overlook into key facts that may entitle you to more money. While it is true that your lawyer will get a percentage of the money that you recover, it is also likely for you to receive more money even after your attorney receives his fee versus what you will receive by handling the claim without the help of an attorney.