Filing a workers’ compensation claim to receive financial assistance for your accident-related costs in the workplace shouldn’t be complicated. You shouldn’t experience a great deal of stress going through the claim-filing process, nor should you encounter countless barriers that prevent access to the money you deserve.
However, filing mistakes can sometimes mean receiving workers’ compensation is much less straightforward than you thought it would be. If you want to ensure you receive the money you’re owed with as few hiccups as possible, try to avoid these common mistakes.
Mistakes To Avoid When Filing Worker’s Compensation Claim
Not Reporting The Accident To Your Employer
When you learn that workers’ compensation for UPS employees and the employees of other large corporations can be tricky to access due to unapproachable management teams, you might be worried about reporting your accident as soon as it happens.
However, not reporting your accident promptly might make it challenging to access the money you’re owed in the future. If you’re in a position to do so, register your accident within 24 hours of it happening to keep the details fresh in your mind. The law also requires you to report it in writing within 30 days.
According to the United States Department of Labor, employers must notify OSHA about a workplace death within eight hours and an in-patient hospitalization, eye loss, or amputation within 24 hours.
The sooner you report your accident, the sooner you can start gathering evidence to support your claim and put together a strong case for workers’ compensation. If you were to wait several days to file your claim, insurance companies and even attorneys might question why you waited so long and try to downplay the severity of your injuries.
Not Providing Medical Care Providers With All The Facts
It can be tempting to provide healthcare providers with a basic level of information to receive the care you need so that you can avoid spending too much time in the hospital. As uncomfortable as hospitals and clinics can be, it’s crucial to be thorough about how your injuries happened and where exactly you’re experiencing pain to create a paper trail for your workers’ compensation claim.
Tell doctors where you were hurt, the situation surrounding it, and the type of job you were performing when the injury occurred. Insurance companies and lawyers investigate claims before paying victims the money they’re owed, and medical records form a significant part of the investigation process. The more precise these records are, the easier it might be for you to receive the money you’re owed.
Not Hiring A Lawyer
There are many reasons an employee might decide against hiring a lawyer when they have been injured in the workplace. They might believe what some insurance companies say about receiving less money if they hire a lawyer, or they don’t think they even need one. Some employees simply don’t know a lawyer or how to find one.
Lawyers can be valuable support persons to have in your corner when you’ve been injured at work. They can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, explain how the filing process works, and even do their best to maximize the benefits you’re entitled to. When you’re already feeling stressed about your injuries, it can be a relief knowing you have someone to handle all the paperwork and legal intricacies for you.
Not Following Doctors’ Orders Regarding Medical Treatment
Some workplace injuries can be so severe that the only way to recover from them properly is by attending regular medical and therapy appointments, performing exercises, and resting. If your doctor has given you specific instructions for maximizing your recovery experience, it’s crucial that you follow those instructions not only for your health and well-being but to keep receiving weekly benefits from your employer’s insurance company.
Instructions are often provided by healthcare providers to shorten the disability period, provide you with relief, and prepare you for as little discomfort as possible when you reenter the workforce. Failure to follow those instructions might mean you don’t recover in the expected timeframe, which might give the insurance company and its lawyer the right to suspend or stop your benefits.
Not Returning To Work In The Appropriate Way
Returning to work after a severe and often life-changing injury can be challenging. You might still be experiencing the effects of your accident, and you might not be able to do the same tasks you could before your accident happened.
Many insurance companies request that an employee returns to their job on light duties, but it’s essential to have the details of those light duties in writing to ensure you’re not putting your body under undue stress.
When an employer requests that you return, ask them to provide you with a job description that you can submit to your doctor for review. If any of the tasks are not suitable for you, you will not be required to return to work to do those tasks. If you return to work and your employer requires you to perform tasks outside of those outlined in your job description, you can provide them with a doctor’s note.
Not Getting A Second Opinion
It’s well within the rights of the insurance adjuster to request that you receive treatment and medical advice from a specific doctor or medical facility. However, they do not have the right to prevent you from getting a second opinion.
For example, if you have been approved to return to work and you are still in a great deal of pain, you might see the value in seeking a second opinion from another medical professional. While the insurance adjuster must agree to the specific doctor that you choose for your second opinion, you can also approach the Industrial Commission in your state if you’ve been unable to receive approval from the insurance company within 14 business days.
Many circumstances might see you requesting a second opinion, such as receiving a disability rating you’re not satisfied with or being given approval for all duties when you’re still experiencing significant pain and discomfort.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim should be straightforward, and you should feel supported in your decision. However, you might experience some challenges if you make some of the mistakes above. Now might be the right time to request the services of a workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure you’re adequately taken care of throughout your healing and returning to work journey.