When you are injured on the job, you have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits through your employer. Filing your claim can be complicated, however, especially when you’re undergoing treatment and recovery.Sadly, many employees receive fewer workers’ compensation benefits due to preventable mistakes. Even a small error can delay or reduce your settlement. Some mistakes could keep you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits altogether. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you avoid these ten mistakes while filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Mistake 1: Failing to Report a Workplace Injury to Your Employer
If you are injured or become ill due to your work activities or conditions, you can claim workers’ compensation benefits. To file a claim, you must notify your employer of your work-related injury or illness as soon as possible.When a workplace injury or illness becomes apparent over time, you should report it to your employer as soon as you become aware of the issue. By reporting the problem right away, you can receive prompt medical treatment and file for workers’ compensation benefits immediately.
Mistake 2: Filing Workers’ Compensation Claim Paperwork Late
Generally speaking, workers’ compensation law gives you limited time to file a claim. In California Law, for instance, you have 30 days to file your claim. So, time is of the essence. When you notify your employer of an on-the-job injury, they must provide you with a workers’ compensation claim form within one business day. You are responsible for filling out the form and returning it to your employer within 30 days of your injury.If you fail to file your application within 30 days, you could lose the chance to obtain workers’ comp benefits altogether.
Mistake 3: Putting Off a Doctor’s Visit for a Work-Related Injury
When you become injured or ill due to your job activities or environment, it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If your injury is an emergency, go to the emergency room or call 911 immediately. If it is less urgent, ask your employer if they have a preferred medical care provider for workers’ compensation injuries. Then, arrange to see that doctor right away.For non-emergency injuries or conditions that come on slowly, you may be tempted to put off the doctor’s visit. Unfortunately, if you wait too long, you may lose your chance to secure workers’ comp benefits.
Mistake 4: Saying You “Feel Fine” After an Injury at Work
Sometimes, an insurance company will try to save money by denying or reducing your workers’ comp benefits. Doctors who work closely with employers and workers’ compensation carriers may be inclined to side with the insurance carrier and minimize your injuries. To protect your claim, avoid saying that you are OK or “feel fine” following a work injury. Instead, be clear and straightforward about your injury or illness and how it occurred. Do not minimize or downplay pain, discomfort, loss of mobility, or other symptoms that affect your daily activities or mental health.
Mistake 5: Seeing a Doctor Outside the Approved Workers’ Compensation Network
Workers’ compensation claims typically require you to seek medical care from an approved healthcare organization (HCO) or medical provider network (MPN). These providers are subject to specific medical treatment guidelines for workers’ compensation cases. Their treatments must be consistent with scientifically-based guidelines commonly accepted by the medical community. Should you choose to see a doctor outside the approved guidelines established by the Division of Workers’ Compensation, they may not be covered by your workers’ comp claim. It is therefore best to check with your employer or workers’ comp claims administrator to find the right doctor.
Mistake 6: Disregarding Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan for Your Work Injury
When you go to the doctor for a work-caused injury or illness, they establish a treatment plan to address your symptoms. The goal of medical treatment for a workers’ compensation claim is to return you to the original state of health you enjoyed prior to your work injury or illness.In some cases, a full recovery is not possible. At that point, the doctor will continue to treat you until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). They will then assess your condition to determine the extent of your impairment. With a permanent impairment, you may be able to apply for temporary disability, permanent disability, or Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits (SJDB) through workers’ compensation.
Mistake 7: Accepting the Doctor’s Work Injury Report Without Question
To pursue temporary and permanent disability benefits through workers’ compensation, the doctor must submit an evaluation of your condition and impairments. The words and phrases in this report directly impact your workers’ compensation benefits. Be sure to review the documentation thoroughly and tell the doctor if you disagree with any of the findings. If you aren’t sure whether the report includes the information you need, have a workers’ compensation attorney review the paperwork. If you disagree with the doctor’s assessment, you can ask for a second opinion or independent medical review.
Mistake 8: Discussing Your Workers’ Comp Claim on Social Media
As with any legal claim, you should keep the details of your workers’ compensation claim confidential while the case is ongoing. Any statements you make on social media or other public forums can be used against you. Similarly, you should avoid discussing the claim with co-workers, managers, friends, and family until your case is complete.A workers’ comp lawyer can explain what you should and should not discuss after a workplace injury or illness.
Mistake 9: Pursuing a Claim Without a Workers’ Comp Attorney
While you can pursue workers’ compensation benefits without an attorney, you may benefit from partnering with an attorney. Both your employer and their insurance carrier want to pay as little as possible in workers’ comp benefits. A workers’ compensation attorney Los Angeles will recognize the tactics carriers use to reduce liability. They will defend your right to fair compensation and ensure that you have the right paperwork. If your employer, doctor, or claims administrator fails to meet their legal obligations, a workers’ comp lawyer will know how to hold them accountable and fight for the benefits you deserve.
Mistake 10: Neglecting to Get a Free Workers’ Compensation Claim Evaluation
After a workplace injury or illness, you need to focus your energy on healing. A workers’ compensation attorney at KJT Law Group can help you secure the benefits you need to fully recover from your work-related injuries. Contact our workers’ comp lawyers today for a free workers’ compensation claim evaluation. Dial (818) 507-8525 to get started.