Many states, including California, follow a no-fault policy when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. This means that after a worker is injured in the workplace, their employer must start administering benefits to them no matter how the injury occurred.
Despite how easy this process may seem for an injured employee, there are opportunities for them to make mistakes and hinder their ability to recover optimal compensation. Here are eight workers’ compensation claim mistakes to avoid.
Not Immediately Telling Your Employer About Your Injury
In California, you have just 30 days to report your injury to your supervisor or employer. Some injuries happen suddenly, while others may progress gradually. If you are suffering from a slowly progressing injury or illness, you still need to notify your employer as soon as you determine that your ailment was caused by your job’s duties.
If you do not report your injury to your employer within 30 days, you may have your benefits delayed, or you may not be able to recover any workers’ compensation benefits at all.
Not Seeking Immediate Medical Assistance
Prompt medical assistance is key to a full physical recovery. If you do not seek immediate medical care, then your injury or illness could:
- Get worse
- Become permanent
- Develop into another more serious condition
Your medical expenses will be covered as part of your workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, you will not have to pay for any treatments yourself. There is no benefit to waiting to seek medical care after an injury.
Not Keeping Records of Your Treatments
You must keep a record of all treatments you receive for your injuries. Not only will this ensure that you recover the damages you are entitled to, but it will also show that you were receiving medical care for the injuries you sustained.
Do not assume that the doctors or medical professionals you meet with will keep records for you. While they are supposed to keep concise and thorough records, keeping your own records ensures that you have everything you need should your claim be denied.
Failing to Receive an Accident Report
After your injury, make sure that you receive a full report of your accident. This report will outline:
- When the injury took place
- How the injury took place
- Who was involved in the accident
This report will also include eyewitness testimonies, and it may even explain what caused your accident to take place.
This report will be very beneficial if your employer files a dispute against your claim. While workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, if it is determined that an employee was negligent in their actions or if their injury took place outside of work, then the employee may have to pay back their benefits.
Exaggerating the Circumstances Surrounding Your Injury
Do not exaggerate the circumstances surrounding your injury. If you do, and your claims adjustor or employer finds out, then you could find yourself unable to collect benefits. State how your injury happened in a factual manner. You do not need to have an overly dramatic story to recover benefits. You just have to have been injured while working in the workplace.
Not Taking Proper Time Off Work
Do not return to work until you are healthy enough to do so. If your employer pressures you to return to work, or if you are worried about being without a paycheck, you should ensure that you put your physical health first.
If you go back to work before you are cleared to, then you could make your injury worse. Additionally, if you are able to perform tasks, even if you are in pain, your employer may try to claim that you were exaggerating your injury.
Not Understanding Your Rights
Did you know that your employer must authorize necessary medical treatment within one day of you filing your claim? Did you know that if your employer fails to pay you in a timely manner, then you should receive an increase in your payments?
The California Department of Industrial Relations clearly outlines your rights as an employee who was injured on the job. Not understanding your rights can result in your employer taking advantage of you, which could cause you to miss out on significant compensation.
Giving Up After a Denied Claim
Your employer or their claims administrator has 90 days to determine whether or not to accept or deny your claim. A denial means that they do not believe that your injury occurred in the manner that you described.
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you may be concerned about how to move forward. Unfamiliar with how to handle the situation, you may feel that your circumstances are entirely hopeless.
The good news is you have the right to challenge the decision that was made. However, if you try to handle the challenge on your own, you may find yourself ill-equipped to take on your employer and their insurance company as you try to earn the benefits you are entitled to.
We Can Help You With a Workers’ Compensation Claim
When filing a workers’ compensation claim, it is vital that you avoid making common mistakes that can delay your benefits or prevent you from receiving them altogether. If you are unsure how to proceed with your claim, then a workers’ compensation attorney can assist you through every step of the filing process.Call KJT Law Group at (818) 507-8525 today. We can get to work immediately so that you can focus on your recovery.