You were following all the safety rules, but you still got hurt. No matter how cautious you are, workplace accidents happen.
Worker’s compensation claims are very common these days. In 2016, 138.2 million American workers received compensation for a workplace injury.
The problem is that the insurance company will work hard to make sure you don’t get paid for your claim. It’s not personal, the insurance company makes more money when they don’t have to pay out on claims. What can you do to make sure you get what you deserve after you’re injured at work?
While you are healing from your injuries, the last thing you need to worry about is fighting to get compensation from your worker’s compensation claim. Keep reading to learn the top 5 mistakes that could cost you your injury compensation.
1. Hiding Prior Injuries After You’re Injured at Work
Yes, insurance companies will try to use prior injuries to the same area as a way to get out of paying on your claim. They argue that the injury was due to a “pre-existing” condition and not due to the normal course of your job.
Make sure you’re honest and upfront about your injuries with your lawyer, they will know how to frame it during the deposition. Your lawyer cannot represent you to the best of their abilities if you aren’t honest with them.
If you get caught lying about your old injuries, your chances of getting a favorable verdict on your claim are slim. Honesty is the best policy here.
2. Picking the Wrong Lawyer And/Or Lawyer Hopping
Speaking about lawyers, choosing the right lawyer to represent you can make or break your chances of seeing compensation on your claim. Do thorough research before you sign any contracts.
Don’t get hooked by lawyers claiming they can get you a huge payday. These lawyers are flat out lying to you! No lawyer can tell you how much they can get for your claim without researching your case.
Also, once you decide on a lawyer to represent you, stick with them. Bouncing from one lawyer to another in the middle of a worker’s compensation claim dispute could make you appear “high maintenance” or “difficult” in the eyes of the insurance company, or worse, the judge!
But, if you decide that your lawyer is not doing a good job of representing you, feel free to look around and get a second opinion from another lawyer. Sometimes a change of representation is the right move, but make sure you have no other options with your current lawyer.
3. Behaving the Wrong Way During the Deposition
The insurance company’s lawyers often ask to get your testimony under oath in a process called deposition. While the court reporter takes your statement, don’t show anger or frustration. It makes you look childish and ridiculous and could even hurt your case if the case goes to court.
Be cooperative and amiable while you give your statement. Give only the facts, and avoid interjecting your feelings or complaints. Also, be sure to consult with your lawyer before and after you give a deposition to keep them informed.
Dress like a professional when you go to meetings or hearings. Looking like a slob or wearing inappropriate clothing will not help your case either.
4. Refusing to Go Back to Work
In many worker’s compensation situations, employers will ask an injured employee to return to work in a lesser capacity or with a different position altogether. These “light-duty” positions usually only last as long as your claim, then you go back to your regular duties.
If your employer asks you to come back to work for “light-duty”, you should give it a shot, even if you feel like you’re not ready. After you try it for a day or two, if you still feel like you need more time to rest and recuperate, let your lawyer know, so they can tell you what to do next.
Refusing to go back to work without at least trying makes it look like you don’t want to go back to work and the claim could get dropped. Then you won’t get your claim benefits and you’ll lose your job as well!
5. Missing an Appointment with Your Doctor
One of the most common mistakes when dealing with a workplace injury claim is not following up with your doctor like you’re supposed to. Some injuries take a long time to heal and there’s not much the doctor can do to speed up the process, but you still need to check back with them from time to time.
Even if you’re waiting on surgery authorization, follow up with the doctor’s office every so often to make sure everything is still good to go. A prolonged absence from the doctor will trigger the insurance company to drop your claim. Insurance companies argue that you’re not injured if you don’t need to visit the doctor.
If you need to, reschedule your doctor’s appointments. Don’t miss the appointment without letting the office know in advance.
While Your Injury Heals, Leave the Legal Work to Someone You Trust
When you’re injured at work, a worker’s compensation claim denial adds insult to your injury. If you avoid making any of these common mistakes, your chances of receiving compensation will skyrocket!
Once you get your approval, keep up with the doctors and lawyers while you heal, but focus on getting better. Once you are back to normal activities, you can put this whole nightmare behind you.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you learned a few things about what can get your worker’s compensation claim denied. If you need more information about legal issues, or if you are looking for a good lawyer, check out the rest of our website blog posts today!