Workers’ compensation is a system of laws that provide employees with insurance and payment of lost wages should they be injured on the job. These claims can often be difficult to fight, even if it seems obvious that your injury happened at work and should be covered. The following tips will help you avoid some of the common reasons why workers’ comp claims are often denied.
1. Not reporting your injury right away
Don’t hurt the validity of your claim by waiting too long. Any injuries sustained while working should be reported to your supervisor right away. In some states you’ll have up to a year to report an injury, but the longer you wait the more difficult it will be to recall specific details surrounding your injury, which could make it harder to prove.
2. Not having documented proof
Documenting the process will bring consistency to your case, so keep records of everything. Telling your boss verbally about an injury is only good if you also get it in writing. Details of the injury can be easily misconstrued if someone is reporting a claim based on just a verbal conversation.
Create an email folder for your claim and put all correspondence associated with it in there. It’s an easy way to stay organized and reference everything in one area.
3. Not seeking medical care
Seek medical care as soon as an injury occurs. Don’t take the chance of making things worse for yourself and your injury by not seeing a doctor. You might be nervous about seeing a doctor because they are expensive, but not pursuing care could damage your case. If you don’t go to a doctor after being injured, the insurance team could claim your injury must not be that bad since it didn’t warrant immediate medical attention.
4. Not talking to a lawyer
There are professionals in this field for a reason. Consult with an attorney that focuses on workers’ compensation claims, they will be your best resource and give your case the best chance possible. Getting hurt on the job and dealing with a workers’ comp claim can be an emotional process for those directly involved. Don’t hurt your chances by acting or reacting out of emotion, have an attorney in your corner who can speak knowledgably on your behalf.
5. Not using a doctor you’re comfortable with
Some employers will urge you to seek medical attention by doctors they have relationships with. These independent medical examiners are known to downplay injuries and act in the best interest of the company. This might not always be the case, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re feeling pressured to seek specific medical care, talk to your lawyer.
6. Not being consistent about your injuries
Don’t downplay your injury. Being hurt on the job can make things awkward at work or between you and your boss or fellow co-workers. You might feel an added pressure to make things seem less than they are. Businesses are looking to protect themselves and their bottom line, and you should be doing the same for yourself.
People are going to have questions about your injury and the compensation process you’re going through. It is very important that you stay consistent with the story you tell about how your injury was sustained as well as your healing process. If you downplay your injuries, it could get back to the insurance team assigned to your claim and they could use your inconsistency against you.