When dealing with the Georgia workers’ compensation system, there are a lot of potential pitfalls that injured workers who are unfamiliar with the system might get caught up in. Mistakes can lead to delays in processing your claim and getting the benefits you need and deserve. It is always better to avoid mistakes, than to fall into problems and have to work through them. By avoiding making mistakes in the first place, injured workers can get the compensation and medical benefits that they need sooner so that the can recover faster.
There are a handful of common mistakes that many people make when it comes to workers’ compensation in Georgia. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you navigate the workers’ compensation system in Georgia, and can help you avoid making mistakes as you apply for, dispute or collect your benefits.
- Failing to properly report a workplace injury. One of the first things an injured worker needs to do after suffering a workplace injury is to report his or her injury to their supervisor or employer immediately after the accident happens. While it is not always feasible for an injured worker to report a workplace accident immediately – the worker might need urgent medical care, or may be hospitalized for a few days after the accident – they should do so as soon as is possible. Workers need to report their injuries within 30 days of the injury. When workers do not report their injuries immediately, or there is a question as to whether the worker made a timely report, workers’ compensation administrators have a tendency to deny workers’ compensation claims, even if they are legitimate claims.
- Making mistakes when completing the workers’ compensation forms. There are a number of different forms associated with making a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia. Between the initial claim form (the Form WC-14), the change of physician form, the first report of your workplace injuries, etc. things can get pretty complicated or confusing. Making mistakes on these forms, not filing the forms in a timely manner, or not providing all of the necessary information on these forms can lead to a denial of your workers’ compensation claim. While a denial is not the end of the world, it will delay your benefits and will result in you needing to appeal your claim denial. Check each and every form you submit for your workers’ compensation claim carefully for accuracy and thoroughness.
- Seeking treatment from an unapproved doctor. It is very unlikely that your normal doctor is also a workers’ compensation doctor approved by your employer for the purposes of handling a workers’ compensation claim. Instead of going to your normal doctor after you have been hurt on the job, you are required to seek medical care from a doctor that is on your employer’s approved list of workers’ compensation treating physicians or specialists. Your employer should be able to provide you with the list of approved workers’ compensation lawyer upon request. Seeking treatment from a doctor who is not approved by your employer can mean that your workers’ compensation benefits may be denied.
- Ignoring doctor’s recommendations. Once you seek care from an employer-approved workers’ compensation physician, it is important that you follow your doctor’s orders and treatment regimen. If you do not follow your doctor’s instructions, you are reducing your chances of getting better as soon as possible. Your doctor might prescribe that you see a specialist, seek physical therapy, perform exercises, take certain medications, etc. and you need to follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Skipping appointments is not a good path to a quick recovery.
- Exaggerating or downplaying an injury. Many workers who are injured on the job are worried that reporting their injury, or reporting the full extent of their injuries to their employer, will lead to harsher treatment down the road. For example, some worry that their employer will hold a workers’ compensation claim against them when it comes time for a work review or promotion. Other workers have a propensity to make their injuries seem worse than they actually are. It might be to garner sympathy from others or to milk the workers’ compensation for all it is worth, but neither of these rationales is a good reason to overplay a workplace injury. Overplaying and underplaying a work-related injury can cause you serious problems down the road. By underplaying the severity of your injury, you may not get the full scope of the medical care that you need. On the other hand, overplaying your injury can result in you getting treatments you do not need. It is important to be honest about your work-related injuries.
- Going back to work prematurely, or not going back to work at all. Workers who are forced to take time off from work to recover from their injuries often feel purposeless and bored without their job to keep them busy. Many want to return to work as soon as possible. But going back to work before you are well enough to do so is a mistake. If you are not ready to return to work, your work performance could suffer, you could re-injure yourself, or make your injury worse. Similarly, if your doctor says that you are ready to return to work and yet you do not, you could place your benefits in jeopardy. Your doctor may recommend that you return to your job with a reasonable accommodation, or less strenuous duties. Do as your doctor says. If you, however, believe that you are not ready, or are paid less than before your injury, you should work with an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney.
Contact an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer: Bader Scott Injury Lawyers
When you are injured on the job, you want your workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible. By avoiding common mistakes in the first place, you can reduce your chances that your workers’ compensation claim will be denied. Working with a dedicated Atlanta, GA workers’ compensation attorney is the best way to circumvent common mistakes. The professionals at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can assist you with every aspect of your workers’ compensation claim. Contact us today.