5 Keys To A Successful Workers’ Compensation Claim
The First Key: Report Your Injury To Your Employer
It is sometimes uncomfortable to go to your supervisor employer and report that you got hurt at work, but it is absolutely the first thing you must do, presuming you have not been taken for immediate medical care. Do not rely upon your co-workers or someone else to report your injury-you must do it.
If you fail to report your injury in a timely manner, it can be a basis for the workers’ compensation insurer to deny your claim. When you report your injury, make sure you tell your employer about every body part affected by the injury. Ask for a copy of the written incident report.
The 2nd Key: Report Your Work Injury To Every Medical Provider You See
Whether you seek immediate treatment for your work injury in an emergency room, or it is a few weeks or even a few months later, you must fully explain how and when the injury occurred. One of the first things the workers’ compensation insurer will do is review the medical records of each and every medical provider you see. If it is not indicated in all the medical providers’ notes that the injury happened at work, the insurance carrier may attempt to deny your claim. Do not wait for the medical provider to ask you if the injury happened at work, and do not presume that the medical provider knows your injury happened at work. Tell every new medical provider you see that you are there for treatment of a work injury.
The 3rd Key: Follow Your Medical Providers’ Instructions To The Letter
Your doctor may order diagnostic studies such as, MRIs, EMGs, or other types of tests. It is very important that you get these tests performed if they are ordered. These tests are ordered because the medical provider is trying to determine the full extent of your injury, so that he or she can administer the proper medical care to help improve your condition.
These tests are very helpful in proving your workers’ compensation claim. The insurance adjuster may try to convince you that you only have a sprain or strain, but an objective diagnostic test will show the true extent of your injury. If you do not go for those tests when directed by your medical provider, you may be stuck with the insurance adjuster’s characterization of the injury even though the injury is actually far more serious.
In addition to tests, your medical provider may order physical therapy. If you do not attend the therapy, the insurer will try to convince a workers’ compensation judge that the injury is not really that serious, even if it is.
The bottom line: follow your medical providers’ instructions. If you do not agree with the instructions, address the issue with the medical provider – do not discontinue treatment on your own.
The 4th Key: Don’t Rely On Advice From Your Employer Or The Insurance Company Adjuster
Your employer is in business to make money. Your employer makes money when you are a productive worker and loses money when you are out of work due to a work injury. Many injured workers believe that a workers’ compensation insurer exists to look out for their best interest. But the insurer is a private, for-profit business that makes money by getting insurance premiums from your employer, and loses money when it pays your medical bills and lost wages. Therefore, both your employer and its insurer have a big financial incentive to get you off of workers’ compensation and back to work as soon as possible. Knowing that both of them have this incentive, do you really want to rely on what they tell you about your rights or what you are entitled to?
Do not do it. Talk to a lawyer for free.
The 5th Key: Get Answers To Your Questions From An Experienced Attorney
Workers’ compensation is a highly complex area of law with many confusing procedures and forms. It is very unlikely you will be able to successfully handle your claim using “common sense” or just relying on the “truth.” Although these concepts are at the heart of any legal matter, you should not rely exclusively upon them – if you do, you may fall into one of the many potential traps that await any person unfamiliar with the workers’ compensation system.
There are many attorneys who advertise that they handle workers’ compensation claims. There are a few important questions that can quickly eliminate firms from consideration, including how many years’ experience the firm has in handling workers’ compensation claims. You should also ask about the costs and expenses of litigating a claim. Often it is necessary to have your treating doctor’s deposition submitted as evidence. Doctors usually charge several thousand dollars for a deposition. Does the firm you are considering hiring pay that cost or do they expect you to pay it, even though you are not working and have no income?
Another question you may want to ask is whether the firm represents workers’ compensation insurers. You would be surprised by how many firms represent injured workers, employers, and insurance companies. Where do their loyalties lie? Just asking these few questions can quickly eliminate from consideration many firms whose advertising seems impressive but whose credentials are not.
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Just call our office at 888-365-1477 to set up a free case evaluation and consultation. You can also fill out a short online form to get in touch with us. All cases are taken on contingency, meaning there are no fees until we recover benefits.