Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation to cover employees who are injured while on the job. Details of the workers’ compensation claims process are different from place to place, but injured employees generally must notify their employer and the workers’ compensation carrier. Regardless, injured employees are always encouraged to obtain any necessary medical treatment first before starting the claim process. Workers’ compensation benefits are not automatic, there are common mistakes that should be avoided when claiming workers’ compensation. They include
- Assuming one can claim workers’ compensation without a lawyer: Insurance companies attempt to settle a claim directly with the employee by asserting that lawyers complicate things. Often insurance companies pose a difficulty to many experienced attorneys, so how well, will a non-lawyer do against an insurer? It’s almost impossible to actually the true value of a workers’ compensation without the use of a good attorney.
- Settling workers’ compensation claim too soon: The best advice is, if you can, only settle your case when you have made a complete physical and psychological recovery. Of course, some injuries are permanent, but if this is the case, make sure that the medical evidence is final. Once the claim is settled before making full recovery, you cannot go back for more, except in rare circumstances.
- Failure to preserve key evidence: gathering evidence is essential to winning a workers’ compensation claim. Preserve evidence. If possible, take numerous photos, videos and write everything down. Speak to witnesses and keep an audio recording of your conversations as witnesses are often reluctant to help you out a few months. Be forensic because a claimant needs to prove that someone else’s negligence caused the accident.
- Failure to keep records of financial losses: It’s important to note any cost incurred on the road to complete physical and psychological recovery. For every cost you incur because of your accident, write it down. Keep receipts, record financial activities on your phone, or send them to your lawyer. All costs are important including parking tickets at the hospital, physiotherapy appointments, and additional expenditures such as meals because you cannot cook due to your injuries.
- Lack of Modified Return to Work Program: If a company has a comprehensive modified work program, they can reduce or eliminate the lost-time claims by bringing an injured worker back to work sooner than if they don’t. It also helps the worker feel that they are valued by the organization. Ensure that employees only do activities or tasks that are minimal for an injured worker to do within your organization as they heal. This may help your employees to identify additional skills they didn’t know they possessed to fulfill the needs of the organization.
- Not seeking medical care or not adhering to the prescribed treatment plan: The main purpose of Workers’ compensation benefits is to treat the injuries of workers and help them recover. When a worker does not seek medical care, it can be argued that there was no injury. And failure to comply with a doctor’s prescribed plan will be viewed negatively. If no injury exists or no treatment is necessary, it will most likely be determined that no benefits are warranted.
Contact Franks & Rechenberg. P.C. Attorneys at Law to help with your personal injury case.