You have been a loyal employee for years. You do your best, and you are always there when they need you. But now you have suffered an injury on the job and need help. You cannot work; you cannot pay your bills. You need to file a workers’ compensation claim, but you are afraid it will hurt your relationship with your employer. It may be time to reach out to an experienced Savannah workers’ compensation lawyer who can guide you through the process and help you avoid the biggest mistakes an injured worker can make.
Among many other mistakes workers make when trying to file for workers’ compensation, here are the three biggest mistakes to avoid.
#1 – Not Immediately Reporting the Incident to the Employer
There is no more surefire way to get your claim denied than failing to notify your employer right away when you get hurt on the job. Many workers think perhaps it is better to “tough it out” and try to get through their shift. They feel that maybe a weekend and some rest will take care of it. If you take this approach, you are playing a dangerous game. If indeed you are fine, terrific. But if not, you are in trouble. Do not take chances with your livelihood and your family’s security. Even if you think it is a minor injury that will heal quickly, just report the incident to your employer. Tell a supervisor, and put it in writing. Be brief; explain the facts of what happened, and simply let them know you would like to be seen by a physician to make sure you are okay.
#2 – Assuming You Do Not Have a Claim
It is hard to know exactly why people do this, but it is very common for injured workers to make broad assumptions about their eligibility, even without speaking to an attorney. Perhaps it is all the misinformation on the Internet; perhaps some workers are influenced by a workplace culture of feeling like getting help is the same as malingering. Whatever the reason, many workers assume they are not eligible. Maybe you have heard a rumor that you have not been on the job long enough to qualify, or maybe you think that having private health insurance means you are better off just getting them to pay instead. Whatever the case, do not make any assumptions until you speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can explain your rights thoroughly and accurately.
#3 – Failing to Give Doctors All the Information They Need
A lot of injured workers feel as though they have to be cryptic with their medical history, perhaps even to the point of concealing key issues of their history. This may be because the employee fears the doctor will use the information to deny them benefits. However, it is best to be thorough and complete with information. Your physician is there to help, but if you give incomplete information about pre-existing health problems, he or she will be limited in assessing the severity of your problem.
For example, say you suffer a serious blow to the back of your head at work, but you suffered several concussions in high school sports many years earlier. You might fear that this previous history of injuries would disqualify you from workers’ compensation. However, it will likely be quite the opposite. In most cases, this may help your doctor assess the long-term potential injuries you could suffer, such as post-concussion syndrome (PCS) or even cognitive impairments and how they could affect your ability to do your job for years to come. Without that information, your doctor might fail to do necessary tests and could even miss a serious trauma.
Contact an Attorney Today
Ultimately, you want to be forthcoming with your employer and physician. If in doubt about any aspect of handling your claim, follow these steps: (1) get emergency medical care; (2) tell your employer what happened as soon as possible; and (3) contact a Savannah workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you avoid making big mistakes that could cost you valuable benefits.