Although working conditions have improved over the years, workplace injury remains an ongoing problem for workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 5,333 American employees lost their lives due to a work-related injury in 2019 alone. Even if an injury doesn’t prove fatal, it can lead to injuries that may lead to lost wages and other damages.
While Workers’ compensation is the only way to recover the loss, certain mistakes on your part can destroy your case, depriving you of the compensation you deserve. Here’s what not to do while on workers’ compensation.
This is one of the most ridiculous, yet common mistakes employees make while on workers’ comp. When you don’t immediately report the work incident and the associated injury, the insurer for your workers’ compensation assumes that you faced no major injuries. While you have 45 days to report your injury in writing to your employer, report the damages the day you face them. And if you missed the deadline of 45 days, you won’t receive any compensation at all.
Some employers will fire or lay off workers who recently faced a workplace injury but haven’t yet reported the issue. This way, they get away with the liability or may not have to pay as much in compensation as otherwise. The problem is that insurance companies assume that workers’ compensation claims filed by employees after being terminated or laid off are motivated by anger or revenge against the former employers, and are thus false. Such claims are always viewed with suspicion and deeply scrutinized.
Ideally, you should take a medical exam within 24 hours of facing a workplace injury. Otherwise, you may not be able to prove that your injury was a direct result of the work accident.
Many victims of a workplace injury will let their emotions take over and will exaggerate while reporting the accident and the injuries. Keep in mind that if your description of how you sustained the injury, how severe it is, and other details are not consistent with the results of your medical exam, your workers’ comp claim may be denied. Thus, when speaking to your employer or healthcare provider, stay honest about what exactly happened.
Many corporate giants have a retainer or doctor on staff. Don’t assume that you can’t choose your own doctor and will have to wait for the company doctor for treatment. This further delays the reporting of the injuries, which is exactly what these companies want. Be informed that as an injured employee, you have full command over who you want to consult and seek medical care from. Instead of waiting for the company doctor to treat you, make an appointment with your own family doctor and explain the situation.
While avoiding these above-discussed mistakes should help you with your workers’ comp claim, securing full coverage from your insurance agent can still be a big challenge. Consult Robert Edens, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Antioch, who is dedicated to securing you the reimbursements you deserve.