Few people go to work each day thinking they will need to file a workers’ compensation claim due to a workplace related injury or illness. However, employers are required to carry coverage and many people are put in situations where they are force to file a claim.
Nevertheless, just because the insurance is there doesn’t mean coverage is a given. Plenty of people attempt to start a claim, only to see it denied because of some technicality. In order to prevent this from happening to you, it is important to be thorough and consistent about reporting the incident or incidents that cause the injury, keep the records that you need, and find the right people to help you make sure no step is missed. Here are some possible issues that might come up and how to minimize the chance that they will cause obstacles in your workers’ compensation claim.
If your injury is not witnessed by any of your coworkers, it is more difficult to show that you were actually hurt on the job. If no one saw you get hurt, one of the best things you can go is to tell others about the injury as soon as possible. If it is something obvious, contact your supervisor or H.R. department and fill out an official report as soon as possible after the incident occurs. If you suffer from repetitive stress injuries, such as hand and wrist pain, try to record this as much as possible and note times when you had to take medication during work hours or any time you needed to see a medical professional in order to alleviate this pain.
Even if coworkers did see you get injured, if your stories are not straight, it can lead the insurance company to be suspicious that you might be trying to get more compensation than you are entitled to. You should double check that your account of the situation is consistent with your medical provider, since inconsistencies between an accident report and official medical records may lead to a delay or denial of a claim.
Work clean and sober
Sometimes injuries happen not only because of obstacles on the job, but because an employee has alcohol or illegal drugs in their system when they are performing potentially dangerous tasks. No matter how familiar a task is, it is important to be mentally and physically prepared for it before it begins. If you do require medication, make sure that is prescribed and taken in the manner specified by your doctor.
Don’t wait until you’ve lost your job
Rather than risking the possibility of being paid a reduced salary with a worker’s compensation claim, some people initially hide their injuries or downplay them and try to work as normally as possible. The trouble with this is that it can hurt your overall job performance and lead to your getting laid off or fired. If nothing is mentioned until after the fact, your claim may be construed as an effort to gain compensation you are not entitled to.
Even when you try to do everything right, it can still seem like the insurance company is working against you. Because of this, it is a good idea to consult with a worker’s compensation attorney as early in the process as possible. At the Law Offices of Katherine L. Niven and Associates, P.C. in Harrisburg, PA we are committed to hearing the whole story in worker’s compensation cases. Contact us to see how we can help you get the compensation you need.