Workers’ Comp 101 - What Every Injured Worker Should Know

Workers’ Comp 101 - What Every Injured Worker Should Know

An on-the-job injury can happen at any given moment and not knowing what to do next is not only scary, but it could also cost you the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Staying educated about how the workers’ compensation process works is critical to the success of your claim. Whether you’re a construction worker or business professional, here’s what you need to know.

Critical Steps to Take After Sustaining a Work Injury

If you’ve had an accident at work that has caused you to sustain an injury, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. The following steps are crucial to increasing your chance of a favorable decision.

Step 1 - Report Your Injury

No matter how minor your injury may be, it’s imperative to report the injury to your employer immediately. The injury report provides proof that your injury happened at work and without an injury report, you will not be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Here’s what needs to be included in the injury report:

  • How the accident happened
  • Witnesses to your accident
  • What body parts were injured
  • Who you reported the accident to
  • Time and date when the accident occurred
  • Symptoms from your sustained injury (swelling, pain, cuts, bruising)

It’s important to meet all required deadlines. You have 90 days from the date you were injured to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Step 2 - Seek Medical Attention

You’ll want to get proper treatment for your work-related injury so you can heal as quickly as possible and resume regular activities — including work. The medical documentation from your treatment also serves as a vital piece of supporting evidence in your workers’ compensation case.

Step 3 - Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Taking on the insurance company alone may not only be confusing but it can also add stress on top of the worries you already have about your injury. Focusing on healing is important. If you decide to take on your workers’ compensation case alone, you’ll be expected to know workers’ compensation laws, filing deadlines as well as how to deal with insurance companies. Individuals who do not have experience in filing a workers’ compensation claim could put their case in jeopardy.

The Importance of Meeting Deadlines

Insurance company claim representatives are trained to find the tiniest mistakes to deny a workers’ compensation claim — and missing deadlines makes it that much easier for them to do so. One way to ensure that your claim gets filed properly is to enlist the assistance of a workers’ compensation attorney. A workers’ compensation attorney understands how the process works as well as the submitting time-sensitive documentation.

Treatment Protocol for Your Work-Related Injury

When you are injured at work, your employer will send you to a doctor that is deemed “authorized” to treat you. While you have the right to go to your private doctor, he or she will be noted as “unauthorized” in your case. Agreeing to use the doctor your employer chooses shows that you are being as compliant as possible and could help your case. If you are unsure whether or not using your personal physician will negatively impact your claim, you should discuss this concern with your worker’s compensation attorney so you can make the best choice possible.

What to Do If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied

Denied workers compensation claims are not uncommon. However, you have the right to appeal the decision. The first step in the appeals process is to find out why your claim has been denied. Ensure you take note of the appeal deadline date that is provided in your denial letter. Here are some common reasons why workers’ compensation claims are denied:

  • The work-related injury was not reported in time
  • The claim was not submitted within filing deadlines
  • Your injury is not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits
  • You did not obtain medical treatment for your work-related injury
  • There is a lack of evidence that your injury happened on the job or was work-related
  • Your employer is disputing the claim

Common Reasons Why Injured Workers Fear Filing a Claim

Many injured workers fear that reporting an injury or filing a workers’ compensation claim could have a negative impact on both their work and personal life. Here are some things that injured workers commonly fear:

Being Fired - It is against the law to be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you were fired before returning to work, you may have a retaliatory case. Each case and circumstances regarding retaliation are unique so it’s imperative to seek the counsel of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to defend your rights.

Deportation - Undocumented immigrants often fear they will face deportation if they seek medical treatment or file a workers’ compensation claim. Undocumented immigrants are protected under workers’ compensation law and have the right to file a claim.

The workers’ compensation process is complicated and often riddled with “red tape.” Don’t go up against the insurance company alone and risk losing your case. Our experienced team of attorneys can help you receive the worker’s compensation benefits you deserve. Contact Spellen Law, LLC at (205) 810-2275 today for a free case evaluation.

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