Did you know that there are every year around 3.4 workers comp claims are filed for every 100 full-time employees? It’s a relatively common practice that can easily become a headache if you’re not used to the process. Knowing the common mistakes to avoid when filing worker’s compensation claims will help you get the results you want while minimizing stress.
Workers’ compensation laws are meant to protect people, providing them with financial support in case they hurt themselves while working. With that said, workers’ compensation claims can be frustrating to navigate, as there are a number of strict rules associated with filing claims.
Keep reading to learn about the common mistakes to avoid when filing worker’s compensation claims.
1. Failing To Report Your Work Injury
The statute of limitations for filing a workers comp claim varies by state but generally, it’s around 90 days from the date of your workplace accident, or from the date that your doctor informed you of the scope of your work-related ailment. If you don’t file your claim within this period, you’ll likely be denied which means losing your benefits.
Many workers hurt on the job are concerned about notifying their employer, out of fear of retaliation or termination. However, it’s your duty and responsibility to inform them of your accident as soon as it happens.
When you submit your claim, be sure to list the exact time, date, and location of your accident. Include a detailed description of your sustained injury or illness symptoms as well as any accounts from any witnesses to your accident. You’ll also need to inform your employer of your accident before consulting with a medical professional.
2. Not Seeking Medical Attention
Speaking of medical attention, you’ll want to seek it as soon as you notify your employer of the work accident. Your employer will most likely refer you to a doctor who is within their insurance network.
If you feel like your employer’s doctor didn’t fully listen to your concerns or properly diagnose your condition, don’t hesitate to visit your primary care provider for a second opinion. Not seeing any type of doctor could cost you in your workers’ comp claim, as your employer’s insurance will note in your file that you didn’t seek medical attention so you must not be as injured as you claim.
Don’t attempt to cover your medical costs on your own private insurance plan. Your employer is responsible for covering all treatment costs, medical costs, and wages you’ve lost from being out of work. Your insurance is also unlikely to cover anything relating to an on-site accident at your workplace.
3. Underreporting Your Symptoms
You have a responsibility to inform your employer and seek medical attention if you get injured at work. However, you’ll need to be transparent about your symptoms. Failure to disclose all potential medical issues you’re experiencing can lead to a decrease in your workers’ comp payout.
Even if you don’t believe a symptom is a direct result of a workplace accident, you should report it. For example, the pain in your wrists could be related to carpal tunnel syndrome that you developed from years of working at a desk.
Be sure to report all potential symptoms to your primary care provider as well as your employer and their recommended medical professional. Otherwise, the doctor and the insurance carrier will record in your file that you’re good to return to work when you actually aren’t.
4. Returning To Work Too Early
It costs the insurance company money to pay for workers’ comp. As a way to cut costs, insurers may pressure employers to find some type of work that an injured employee can handle.
You should request a job description and have your doctors (both your own and the one assigned by your employer) review it to ensure you’re capable of performing the work at your current stage of recovery. You don’t need to accept any work that the doctor of record on your case doesn’t approve.
5. Not Seeking Work
With that said, if you’ve recovered to the point of being capable of working then it’s time to seek appropriate work. If you have a partial disability, you’ll still need to look for and accept work you can do.
As you continue to recover, be sure to contact your employer to see when you’re able to return to work. Let your employer know if there are any accommodations you’ll need to do your job.
6. Failing To Request A Second Opinion
As mentioned earlier, injured workers must see the doctors that their employers direct them to. However, you should also see your own doctor if you have one.
Your doctor knows your medical background. Your employer’s doctor might mention that you can return to work before you’ve fully recovered but your doctor might believe otherwise. If you have a second opinion on the record, you have a better chance of success with an appeal to continue your benefits.
7. Not Following Up With Your Doctor
One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to workers’ comp is not following up with their doctor. The courts will consider you fully recovered from your injury if you don’t regularly check in with your doctor about your condition.
If there’s any sign of a continuing problem that could have possibly resulted from your work accident, talk to your doctor.
At the end of the day, you should work with a workers comp lawyer if you’re struggling to navigate any legal complexities.
Mistakes To Avoid When Filing Worker’s Compensation Claims
No matter how careful you are at work, an accident can happen at any time. Falling victim to a work injury can render you incapable of performing your former job duties. You’ll need to turn to your employer and their medical team for a diagnosis of your injury to seek compensation for your medical bills and lost wages.
When you’re filing worker’s compensation claims, it needs to be done in a timely manner or they could be denied. That’s why knowing the common mistakes to avoid is important, you’ll be able to learn from what others have done wrong and get compensated quickly.
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