Every day, workers are injured while on the job. However, even workers in high-risk industries don’t always know what to do in these situations.
If you find yourself in this situation, you may wonder what to do. However, you may not realize that if you don’t take the proper steps, you may hurt your ability to recover compensation.
One of the best things you can do after an at-work accident is to contact our West palm beach work injury attorneys at Sternberg Forsythe, P.A. to discuss your claim. We can help you take the right steps and avoid some of the most common mistakes that are made with these cases.
It’s also beneficial to know what the most common mistakes are.
1. Not Reporting the Injury to Your Employer Right Away
The most common mistake injured workers make is failing to let their employer know right away. According to Florida law, you must report a workplace accident and injury within 30 days of when it happens. If an occupational disease causes your injury, then you have 90 days from the first sign of the illness.
There are some exceptions to this rule; however, it’s not worth waiting. If you wait too long, the insurance carrier may question if you were truly injured at work or if the injury is as bad as you claim it is.
2. Failing to Have Your Injury Evaluated and Documented by a Doctor
This mistake is like the one above. You may think you can work through the injury and avoid going to the doctor. You may even be anxious or fearful about going to the doctor. The cost of the appointment may be a hurdle, too.
However, if you do not seek medical evaluation for the injury, the insurance company may claim you weren’t injured. They may also claim that you did not suffer that serious of an injury. Having medical documentation of your injury, when it happens, can help prove you were injured, the severity of the injury, and help you receive the compensation you are owed.
3. Not Disclosing Prior Work-Related Accidents
Another mistake commonly made by people pursuing workers’ compensation claims is not disclosing they had a prior work-related injury. If you have ever been injured while on the job or if you were involved in a workplace accident, it’s necessary to disclose this information.
If you do not report these prior situations, it may be considered fraudulent. If this happens, there’s a good chance your current claim will be denied or thrown out.
When pursuing workers’ compensation benefits for a workplace accident, you will likely be asked if you have had work-related accidents in the past or been hurt on the job. When being evaluated, you may encounter the question on a medical history form, and you must answer honestly. The claims adjuster or case manager will also ask you about your proper injuries in most cases. Being honest and disclosing all prior work-related injuries is a must. While you may think this information will hurt your existing claim, the outcome will likely be worse if you don’t disclose it.
4. Not Being Treated for All Your Injuries
When you are injured at work, you may seek medical treatment. However, a mistake that some make is not seeking treatment for all their injuries.
An example will be if you fall at work and experience a herniated disc in your back. You may also be experiencing knee pain in this situation but are so preoccupied with your back injury that you don’t tell the doctor about your knee pain. Several weeks later, after your back is treated, it may get better, but your knee may still hurt. Eventually, you may discover you tore the ACL ligament but never received treatment for it.
In this type of situation, if you don’t disclose all your injuries, it may be challenging to receive a fair amount of compensation. While your workers’ compensation claim may be settled for your back injury, what about the knee injury? Even in cases where the claim is pending, trying to add another injury several weeks or months after your initial claim isn’t something that works well. Usually, the insurance carrier will dispute the injury, claiming it did not occur on the job. They may even accuse you of fraud. To avoid this, be sure to disclose all injuries, aches, and pains at your initial medical evaluation.
5. Not Returning to Work Quickly Enough
It’s important to go back to work when you can. While you may have to work for a lower wage, if you don’t accept the offer of this position, it may be viewed as a voluntary loss of income. If this happens, you won’t be able to recover any additional compensation benefits. Even worse, your employer may have grounds to fire you because you refuse to work.
Contact Our Team for Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you are in a situation where you have been injured on the job and want to ensure you don’t make the mistakes listed here, be sure to reach out to our team. At Sternberg Forsythe, P.A., we can review your situation and help ensure you receive the compensation that you deserve. We will also help you avoid some of the most common mistakes that people make in these situations to protect your rights.