So you’ve been hurt at work. How severe are your injuries? Does that really matter? Once you are hurt on the job, you have to take the necessary steps to file a worker’s comp claim and it does not matter if your injuries are minor or severe.
Remember, it is the employer’s responsibility to keep the workplace safe and you are protected under the law. Of course laws vary from state to state. But here are some helpful workers’ comp tips to help prepare you for your workers’ comp claim…and to avoid being caught by surprise.
Helpful Tips For Your Workers Compensation Claim
1. Give Proper Notification: If you are injured at work, then you are entitled to workers’ comp benefits. You should make sure that proper notification of your injuries is given to the employer right away. Some employees make the mistake of waiting to see if the pain subsides. Wrong!
Don’t try to be tough or too laid back with your injuries. Report the accident to a supervisor immediately. If you wait, then you may risk losing all workers’ comp benefits.
2. Don’t Ignore the Injuries: Let’s say you hurt your back at work but you decided not to make a big deal out of nothing. Then, several months pass, and you begin to experience pain and swelling. Unfortunately, the time limit to file a workers’ comp claim has probably passed.
This happens all too often. Don’t make this mistake or you will be stuck with your own medical bills and less time off from work.
3. Complete all Claim Forms Thoroughly: Be sure to fill out all your claim forms thoroughly and with as much detail about the injury as possible. Remember, the claim form is going to be the first formal notice to the employer that you have been injured. If your paperwork is not completed thoroughly or correctly, then you risk a delay in your claim.
4. The Right Hand Off: Be sure that you are aware of the person to receive your completed claim form. It might be the supervisor who provided the claim form or it could be another employer representative such as an attorney. Be sure to ask questions.
5. Follow the Doctor’s Orders: It is important that you listen to the doctor and follow the orders for treatment or therapy. Keep your scheduled doctor’s appointments. Failure to do any of these things may result in your claim being denied.
6. Select an Employer Physician: You most likely will need to visit an employer-approved physician to assess your injuries. This physician is likely to also be a approved by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. You should be given a list of approved physicians to visit at the time you make your claim.
Be advised…While you are more than welcome to visit your own physician for a second opinion, you will likely nee to see a pre-approved physician first. If you don’t, then you risk losing your workers’ comp benefits.
7. No Termination or Reprimand: If you are injured on the job and file a worker’s comp claim, then the employer is not allowed by law to terminate you or reprimand you for it. On the other hand, if you are injured to the point where your injuries are permanent, then the employer has the right by law to find a replacement for you.
8. Use Approved Pharmacies: Similar to seeing a physician authorized by your employer, the same is true for pharmacies. When you have to fill prescribed medicine, make sure you use the approved pharmacies. If you go outside of this list, your prescriptions may not be covered.
9. Keep Detailed Expense Records: If you stay within the realms of what the worker’s comp plan provides, then your out-of-pocket cost is usually reimbursed. So, make sure you keep all receipts and this includes parking fees, gasoline, and anything related to your injuries.
10. Work with an Attorney: While it’s not required, employees always have the right to contact a workers’ compensation attorney to assist them with their claims. An attorney can discuss the details of your claim and provide you with any legal advice needed to process your claim.