When you suffer a workplace injury, you may find yourself dealing with severe injuries and unable to return to your job for weeks or even longer. Should this happen, workers’ compensation benefits may be what help you make ends meet financially during your recovery. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation is complex, and many employers and their insurance companies make it even more difficult. If you are seeking these benefits, here are some things to keep in mind.
Quickly Report Your Injury
If at all possible, report your injury as quickly as you can to your immediate supervisor or another member of your company’s management team. Should you wait a day or two before reporting your injury, your employer may believe your injury did not take place on the job. Remember, even if you have an excellent relationship with your employer, chances are they will not be eager to help you file your workers’ comp claim. Should this happen, you can expect a legal battle between you, your employer, and your employer’s insurance company.
Use Your Own Doctor
While you may be required by law to initially be treated by a doctor chosen by your employer’s insurance company, remember that you can change doctors along the way if you feel you are not getting the highest levels of treatment for your injuries. Though there may be a waiting period before you are allowed to switch doctors, doing so may mean the difference between having your workers’ comp claim approved or denied. If at all possible, use your own doctor whom you know and trust.
You’ll Need a Workers’ Comp Attorney
If you don’t hire an attorney who specializes in workers’ comp claims, you are setting yourself up to lose your case. This is particularly important when veterans exposed to asbestos seek workers’ compensation benefits. Due to the complexities involved in these cases and many employers choosing to let their insurance companies do everything possible to see that these claims are denied, you will need the services of an attorney who fully understands workers’ comp law, how to build a strong case on your behalf, and how to appeal a denial so that you ultimately win your case.
Know What Benefits are Available
When you prepare to file your workers’ comp claim, always make sure you have a solid understanding of the benefits to which you may be entitled. In most states, you can expect to be paid temporary and perhaps permanent disability benefits, depending on the extent of your injuries and how long it will take you to recover and return to work.
You can also receive compensation for any medical care that is deemed to be necessary and reasonable as related to your injuries and can be compensated for mileage from traveling to and from your doctor’s appointments. Finally, if you need job retraining or other assistance finding a job that will align with any work restrictions you may have after your accident, workers’ comp can pay for your vocational rehabilitation.
Keep Very Detailed Records
When you pursue workers’ comp benefits, you should be prepared to keep very detailed records concerning your medical appointments and anything else related to your accident. Typically, you should always have copies of your accident report, any correspondence from your employer or their insurance company, and work restriction letters composed by your doctor. Having as much information as possible already in writing as you file your claim makes it easier for your attorney to build a strong case on your behalf.
Prepare to Appeal
Even when you have an excellent workers’ comp attorney, it is not unusual for the initial claim to be denied. Therefore, you should be prepared to let your lawyer appeal your case. If your employer tries to pressure you into not appealing the ruling or states you do not have the right to appeal, do not believe them. Instead, speak to your lawyer so that you can get the sound advice needed to help you get the benefits you need and deserve.
Though very complex cases, worker’s comp claims are also very winnable. By hiring an experienced attorney and remembering the tips discussed here, you can win your worker’s comp case.