Have you been injured at work?
You aren’t alone. Every 7 seconds, a worker is injured on the job. An injury could have serious consequences for you and your family, so it is important that you are properly compensated. But workers compensation is a complex process, which could see you getting less than you deserve.
Don’t worry, we are here to help. Read on for several things to consider before seeking a workers compensation settlement.
Report Your Injury Immediately
After an injury has occurred, you must report it to your boss immediately. Each state requires that you give notice of an injury within a set deadline. If you don’t make the deadline, you could lose the right to claim workers’ comp benefits.
This deadline varies a lot from state to state, so make sure you know your state’s requirements. Some states need you to fill in a workers compensation form and submit it before a set date. If you don’t, you won’t have officially started your claim.
Get Medical Treatment Right Away
After you’re injured, you should get medical treatment right away. Not only will you recover faster, but it’s important evidence for your claim.
A medical report will detail your accident and describe your injuries. It’ll also detail any physical impairments as a result, both short-term and long-term.
If you don’t, the insurance company could claim your injuries weren’t as serious as you have said. They might even claim that you weren’t even injured at all!
Prepare for Your Independent Medical Examinations
The independent medical examination (IME) won’t focus on treating your injuries. Your insurance company will hire a doctor to do an examination and go over your medical records. Then they’ll produce a report.
The report covers the doctor’s opinion on your diagnosed injury. It’ll also have their opinions on work restrictions and how it will affect your ability to work.
If an IME is booked in, you have to go or you could lose your benefits. Before going, read through your medical report. Identify things they might point out and prepare to answer any tricky questions.
Understand the Available Benefits
Make yourself familiar with the available benefits through workers’ comp. Amounts and eligibility will vary from state to state, but here are some common benefits:
- Temporary disability benefits – to help tide you over while you’re off work recovering
- Permanent disability benefits – to compensate for lasting physical impairments
- Medical treatment – reasonable medical care to treat your injuries
- Job Rehabilitation – job retraining and help to find a new job with any restrictions from the injury
Don’t rely on the adjuster to explain your state’s benefits, they’re working for profit. Do your own independent research with the state’s workers’ comp agency. Or get a workers’ comp attorney.
Keep Detailed Records
Make sure you keep copies of all your workers’ comp claim paperwork. This should include work restrictions and letters from your employer/insurance company. Also, keep copies of completed forms like the accident report.
Work restriction slips aren’t always included in your medical records. So keep and make copies of everything you receive just in case. Many of these documents are vital for getting your claim approved.
Watch Out for Private Investigators and Surveillance
If the insurance company has doubts over your credibility, they might high a PI to follow you. Their goal will be to catch you doing something that will contradict your claim.
For example, imagine if your medical report says you can’t lift anything heavy. If the PI gets evidence of you carrying shopping bags, they’ll argue you’re lying. But, they don’t know how light those bags were or if you experienced increased pain after. It’s easily misinterpreted.
If you think you have a PI on your tail, talk to a workers’ comp attorney. They might have tips on how to reduce the impact of the surveillance footage.
Appeal a Denial of Benefits
Never forget that insurance companies run for profit. It isn’t uncommon for them to deny a legitimate claim so they can save money. But you have the right to appeal the decision. After filing an appeal, most people who were first denied end up getting some sort of workers’ comp.
Each state has different appeal requirements so make sure to check. Usually, it means filing a written form by a set deadline with your state agency. Once processed, a judge will set a hearing date to resolve the dispute. If you want to appeal, you will want to consider hiring a workers’ comp attorney to help.
Attend All Scheduled Appointments and Legal Proceedings
If you don’t have a workers’ comp attorney, you have to attend every legal meeting or court date during an appeal. If you don’t attend, you could lose some or the entirety of your benefits.
If you do have an attorney, you’ll still need to turn up for important events. If you have to miss an appointment, you must have a good reason. Make sure you notify the insurance company and state representative before the date.
Consider Getting a Workers Comp Lawyer
For peace of mind, you should consider hiring a workers comp attorney. Even if your case seems straightforward. The real benefit will be if:
- the insurance company ignores your claim or information requests
- the insurance company make a settlement offer
- the insurance company denies or reduces your benefits
Unless you’re an expert, it’s hard to interpret the workers’ comp system. You don’t want to accept an offer that is less than you deserve or could have gotten. An attorney can handle it all for you, including valuing your claim.
Getting the Workers Compensation Settlement You Deserve
So there you have it. Follow these tips to get the workers compensation settlement you deserve.
Seek medical treatment and report the injury immediately. Any delay could be held against you. Do your research and don’t rely on the doctor they give you.
Make sure you attend and keep records of all meetings and correspondence. If you’re in any doubt, seek legal advice.
If you are in need of a workers compensation attorney, then contact us today at Hollington Brown LLP. With over 53 years of combined experience, you can be sure we will get you all the compensation you deserve.