Employees get injured on the job all the time. In fact, a work-related injury happens in the United States once every seven seconds.
If you’re injured on the job, filing a workers’ compensation claim will help you cover the cost of your medical treatments and your recovery. However, there are a few key steps you’ll need to take to make sure your claim gets filed correctly.
Here are the most important things to do when you’re injured on the job.
1. Make Sure You’re Covered
Employees are only eligible to receive workers’ compensation if they’re injured on the job while performing job-related duties. This means you won’t qualify if you’re injured at work while you’re off the clock or get hurt goofing off.
You also won’t qualify for a claim if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your injury.
If you’re injured in the course of your regular duties or while performing tasks requested by your employer off-site, you’ll qualify for the claim. Even if the injury resulted from your own negligence, you’ll be able to file a claim.
2. Notify Your Supervisor As Soon As Possible
The first thing you need to do after getting basic first aid is to notify your supervisor of the injury. Explain what happened and try to write down the events that led up to the injury.
If any of your coworkers witnessed the incident, see if they’ll be willing to write down what they witnessed. These statements can get added to your employee file.
Once your supervisor knows what happened, they can recommend a doctor for you to receive treatment. They’ll likely ask you to go immediately which will help speed up the claims process so you can get the money you deserve more quickly.
Some injuries might not be immediately noticeable and that’s okay. Just notify your employer as soon as you realized that your accident caused an injury that requires treatment. You have up to 30 days to notify your employer of that injury to qualify for workers’ compensation.
3. See Your Primary Care Provider
If you feel that the doctor recommended by your employer’s insurance provider wasn’t great or underestimated the severity of your injuries, don’t panic. Schedule an appointment with your preferred doctor as soon as possible.
Discuss what happened with your doctor and let them know about any ongoing pain or issues you’re experiencing from your work-related injury. If they tell you that your injury is worse than originally thought, notify your employer.
Make sure to also follow all directions and recommendations for your recovery to the letter. Don’t rush things even if you feel better sooner than they anticipated. Doing so could end up complicating your workers’ compensation claim later on.
4. Follow Up With Your Employer
Ultimately, it’s your employer’s responsibility to file a claim with their workers’ compensation provider.
They’ll fill out the employer section of the form and ask you to fill out the relevant details and information explaining what happened. Once the form gets filled out, they’ll send it to their insurance provider who will decide if your claim is valid.
If they do, they’ll process the claim and you’ll receive compensation for medical care as well as a portion of your income while you’re unable to work. This will last until the doctor deems you fit to return to your duties.
If your claim gets denied, you’ll need to petition the decision.
Should your employer refuse to give you a workers’ compensation from, don’t accept it. Contact your local workers’ compensation office. Their representatives will be able to speak to your employer or tell you how to start the claims process on your own.
5. Consult With An Attorney
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation claims do get denied and the reasons vary from case to case. Keep in mind that a denial of a claim isn’t your employer’s fault and it doesn’t automatically mean you won’t receive compensation. It just means you’ll have to fight for it.
If your claim gets denied, speak with an attorney as soon as possible. You don’t have to notify your employer that you’re scheduling a consultation. After all, your issue is with the insurance provider, not your boss.
Your attorney will be able to review your claim and represent your best interests with the insurance provider.
Filing a claim in the first place or contesting one that got denied should never result in any form of retaliation with your employer or any of your supervisors.
What Retaliation Looks Like
Retaliation can take many forms ranging from cutting your hours significantly without reason to complete termination. These forms of retaliation are illegal. If they happen, stand up for yourself.
Document what you can and speak with your attorney as soon as possible. They’ll be able to guide you through the next steps and represent your interests.
Dealing With A Work-Related Injury Can Be Tough
Workers’ compensation is there to help you cover your expenses and replace some of your income while you’re injured so you can focus on recovering completely. Unfortunately, cases aren’t always simple and if you find yourself struggling with your employer or get denied a claim for a work-related injury, don’t handle it on your own.
Instead, speak with an attorney and let them represent your case with the insurance company. Remember, they work for you and will do everything they can to help you get the compensation you’re due.
If you’re dealing with a work-related injury and need help appealing a denied claim or aren’t happy with the results, contact us to schedule a free consultation.