Have you or someone you know been injured at work?
Then you’ll need to know the steps to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
This can be a stressful and challenging time, and not everyone knows how to go about getting workers’ compensation. It may seem overwhelming when balanced with medical bills, doctors’ appointments, and recovery time.
However, when you have a guide to the steps to filing a workers’ compensation claim to follow, the process becomes less daunting. That’s why we’ve put together this easy guide so that you’ll know how to get the compensation you deserve.
Keep reading to learn the steps to filing a workers’ compensation claim!
Why File for Workers’ Compensation?
When you’re injured on the job, you have the option to file for workers’ compensation. You may be wondering if it’s worth it to take the steps to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
However, there are many valuable reasons to file for compensation.
If you’re injured on the job, you’re entitled to compensation. Although in rare cases an employee will decide to file a personal injury lawsuit instead, workers’ compensation exists to take the place of long, complicated legal processes.
Workers’ compensation functions as an insurance policy. This means that you are legally entitled to certain benefits as an employee who was injured. There’s no need to hold back from filing – it’s your legal right.
In order to file, you simply need to establish that you were injured while on the job, while doing work-related activities. It’s easier than you might think.
Five Steps to Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Now, let’s take a look at the exact steps to filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you follow these steps, you’ll quickly and easily get the compensation you need.
1. Get Medical Treatment
Your first step after an on-the-job injury is to get immediate medical attention.
This is an important step. You’ll increase your chances of a full recovery by getting the treatment you need right away. You’ll also need to show that you’re getting treatment to file for workers’ comp in most places.
Certain compensation policies require you to see a particular doctor, so check with the company before you make an appointment. Most of the time, the laws allow you to get a second opinion if the required doctor doesn’t work out.
However, no matter what, you’ll want to make the appointment as soon as you can after your injury.
You might feel like you’re perfectly fine and don’t need medical help, but if you were injured at work, go ahead and make the appointment anyway. This can help prevent medical issues related to the injury from arising later on. Plus, it’s the first step in filing for compensation. You’ll need the medical report to show the basis for your compensation.
2. Tell Your Employer
It’s also important to tell your employer about your injury as soon as possible.
There is a statutory deadline within which you must let your employer know that you were injured. However, the sooner you tell them, the better.
The notification deadline can be short – you might only have 30 days, or even less, to make a report.
Even if you don’t feel like you were injured, you should still report any accidents in the workplace that you were involved in. That way, if the deadline passes and it turns out you were injured after all, you can still file for compensation.
A verbal notification won’t be enough here – you’ll need to make sure it’s in writing too. You can give an initial notification verbally, but be sure to follow it up with a written one soon after.
The written notification provides an official record that can be referred to when you file your claim.
It’s also important to get this step done quickly so you can remember all the details of the accident. If you wait too long, it can become harder to convey exactly what happened.
3. Request an Official Claim
When you tell your employer what happened, they’ll usually provide the official claim for you to fill out.
If they don’t, you’ll need to request one from your state’s workers’ compensation board.
The information that goes on that form tends to include:
- Nature and location of the injury on your body
- Time, date, and location where the injury occurred
- Any other people who were involved
- How the accident happened
- Medical treatment you’ve been given so far
4. Employer Files the Claim
Once you have turned in the form, it’s up to your employer to take the next steps.
Most employers are legally required to provide workers’ compensation, so they have a strong incentive to follow these next steps. If they don’t, they could get fined, charged with a crime, or sued.
Employers aren’t allowed to seek retaliation against an employer for filing a claim, so don’t worry about being punished.
If you have any issues during this process with your employer, you’ll want to seek legal representation. You can easily find a lawyer in your area. Just conduct a Google search, such as “workers compensation attorney Chicago.”
Your employer will file your claim and any necessary paperwork with their insurer, and the state board of workers’ comp.
The insurer evaluates the claim, and then you’ll receive notification of whether or not your claim has been accepted. At this point, you’ll find out the amount of compensation you’re going to receive.
5. Next Steps
Once you’ve filled out the required forms, you’re pretty much done with the steps to filing a claim with a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer.
However, it’s important to follow up and stay organized throughout the process. Make sure you continue to get regular medical treatment if a doctor recommends it. Your compensation will cover the cost of any treatment due to work-related injuries.
It’s not a bad idea to jot down any time your injury negatively impacts your life or your ability to work. You can be compensated for these problems, but you’ll need to document them.
Keep all your receipts of costs related to the injury, and record proof of any injury-related hardships you experience.
On the off chance that your claim is rejected, you can usually appeal. This process will be easier if you have plenty of documentation.
Is Workers’ Compensation Right for Everyone?
Most of the time, you’ll want to file for compensation following an injury at work.
However, in rare cases, you might want to file a personal injury lawsuit instead. For more about personal injury law, check out this post.