Being injured on the job is scary and can lead to long-term physical pain and financial difficulty. Filing a workers' compensation claim is a way to receive paid time off as well as coverage of your medical expenses while you recover from your injury. This is funded by your employer's workers' compensation insurance. Before you file your claim, however, there are a few important details to be aware of. Here are three tips when you're considering filing a workers' compensation claim:
Gather Documentation Before You File
Your chances of an approved workers' compensation claim are stronger if you have some documentation verifying your accident, which may include photos of your work site where you injured yourself. Any emergency room or hospital visits should also be documented. If you have visible injuries, take photos of them. If you have time, print, organize, and clearly label everything relating to your workplace accident in one file to make things easier. It's also a good idea to keep additional copies of your file.
Talk to a Workers' Comp Attorney
The process of filing for workers' compensation benefits can be more complicated than you may be anticipating. A simple mistake in your paperwork, or a discrepancy with the way your doctors or nurses code your injuries in their paperwork, can actually lead to a denied claim even though your injuries are legitimate. Some workers' comp cases even involve a meeting with a judge, which can be very intimidating.
For these reasons, it is wise to consult with, and hopefully hire, a workers' compensation attorney. They will serve as your advocate and make sure that your paperwork is in order and filed correctly. If your claim is denied, they can even represent you during the appeals process.
Fill Out an Accident Report as Soon as Possible
If you haven't already done so, you will want to fill out an accident report at your workplace as soon as possible. Your company's HR department most likely has a standardized form they use for reporting workplace injuries or accidents. Laws vary by state, but in many cases you are required to submit an official report within days or a week after a workplace accident. This is the first step to being able to file a workers' compensation claim.
Following these tips and working closely with an experienced workers' comp attorney, such as those found at Oxner + Permar, LLC, will help ensure that your legal and financial rights are adhered to.