While we hate to see anyone injured on the job, it seems to happen too often.
On-the-job injuries entitle you to benefits through worker’s compensation. But, it’s not always easy to make your claim and get all of the compensation you deserve from your accident.
Worker’s compensation adjusters aren’t on your side. They work for the insurance company that provides workers compensation benefits to your employer. An adjuster might be sympathetic to your situation, but their priority is to avoid paying too much for your claim.
To make sure you get all of the compensation you deserve here are our top tips for filings a worker’s comp claim.
Get Medical Help First
A paper cut or a stubbed toe won’t likely qualify for worker’s compensation. These benefits go to workers who experience severe injuries while at work, like a devastating fall, a back injury, or an item falling and causing a head injury.
If you suffer a significant injury, seek medical attention first. Worry about filing a claim later. A doctor’s report, x-rays, and medical bills can support your case for worker’s comp benefits.
These benefits can help cover medical expenses and provide income while you’re unable to work.
Report Your Injury As Soon As You Can
Tell someone! As soon as you’re injured—and safe—report your injury to your supervisor or your human resources representative.
An injury or accident that goes unreported for a while can cause a workman’s compensation adjuster to minimize the severity of your injury. If it wasn’t severe enough to document right away, you probably aren’t injured enough to need benefits. Right?
Wrong. File a report within a few days of the incident, if you’re able. The details will be fresh in your mind. If your injury is visible, the sooner your supervisor sees the severity of it, the better.
Gather Witnesses Sooner Rather Than Later
Support your report with accurate and immediate witness accounts. Again, the details of the incident will be freshest in their mind within a few days of the event.
Get names and contact information. Confirm that your witnesses are willing to give an accurate account of what happened if the adjuster asks for it.
File Your Claim Within 30 Days
Your claim for worker’s comp is different than the report you’ll file with your supervisor. However, you need that report to support your claim with the worker’s compensation insurance company.
Your supervisor or human resources representative can help you file your claim. They’ll provide a form to document what happened and file the claim with according to the insurance company’s requirements.
Waiting more than thirty days can hurt your case. An adjuster can reason that the injury or compensation isn’t urgent. Therefore, your injury doesn’t require a payout.
It can be tough to file the necessary reports, collect your witness and paperwork, then submit your claim while you’re recovering from a severe injury. But, it’s essential to file your claim as soon as you can to make sure you get the benefits you need.
Don’t Post Your Life on Social Media
The insurance adjuster and your employer will be watching you. They’ll look for any reason to deny your claim.
An injured person needs to appear injured. If you’ve received time off to recover from a severe injury, but your Facebook shows you’ve taken your time off to enjoy a luxurious vacation with no signs of an injury, you’ll risk losing your benefits.
Avoid posting details of your accident, the insurance claim, and any activity that could persuade an adjuster (or your boss) not to take you seriously.
Beware: some worker’s compensation companies hire private investigators to watch and confirm that your behavior matches the extent of your claimed injuries. If you had a prior claim, you’ll be under scrutiny for a new claim.
Prepare for Medical Exams
You’ve already seen a doctor for treatment, but the insurance company will schedule additional independent examinations.
You can say you’re hurt and detail the extent of your injuries. Before you receive any benefits, the adjuster will confirm that the reports of your injuries are accurate.
The insurance company hires a doctor that doesn’t know you. That doctor examines you, reviews your medical records and documentation, then provides a report back to the adjuster.
Filing your claim, then hoping it all works out in your favor is a bad idea. You are your own advocate.
Be sure you participate in all meetings, appointments, or legal proceedings. Keep good records, follow-up with the adjuster, and stay involved in the process until you get a positive response.
If your injury prevents you from staying involved, send a trusted representative to cover for you.
Don’t Take “No” for an Answer
The workmen’s compensation company doesn’t want to pay out the benefits you deserve. While they might award something to you, they could decide a “fair” benefit is less than you deserve.
Don’t take “no” for an answer. If they deny your claim or award you an insufficient amount, appeal those decisions.
Adjusters hope you’ll accept a denial or small offering as their final offer. Find out why they denied your claim. You have the right to appeal it.
Hire a Lawyer to Appeal Your Worker’s Comp Claim
If your settlement was too low or the company denied your worker’s comp claim, it’s time to hire an Atlanta worker’s compensation lawyer.
Our law firm fights for the rights of workers injured on the job. Don’t settle for less than you deserve when work injury threatens your livelihood. Learn more about how we can help you get the benefits you need, then contact us to review your case.
Seth Bader is an Auto accident, Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Atlanta, Rome, Savannah, Norcross, Carrollton, Georgia. He graduated from Florida State University College of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years. Seth Bader believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.