Workers’ Compensation Claim

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Every day various types of workers and employees suffer injuries on the job. Some suffer injuries due to accidents. Others become ill or are diagnosed with repetitive use or cumulative trauma injuries.

No matter what type of workplace injury or illness you suffer, you can seek compensation. A qualified workers' compensation attorney can file a claim and pursue fair compensation for your injuries.

Your Rights After a Workplace Accident

After suffering an injury from a workplace accident, you have several rights that a workers' compensation lawyer can help you secure.

Workplace Injury Claim

These include the right to:

  • File a workers' compensation claim.
  • See a doctor for medical diagnosis and treatment.
  • Go back to work if your medical provider releases you.
  • Receive disability compensation if you can't go back to work permanently or temporarily due to your injury.
  • Appeal the decisions of your employer, the employer's insurance company, or the workers' comp court if you disagree with them.
  • Have legal representation throughout the workers' comp process.

In general, workers' comp laws allow injured parties to pursue a claim without having to fear employer retaliation or harassment. Employers may face strict and severe legal penalties if they attempt to retaliate or harass an employee because they filed a workers' comp claim.

What to Do After a Workplace Accident

Being involved in a workplace accident or suffering a work-related illness can come as quite a shock. Perhaps you did everything right and took all necessary safety precautions. Maybe you've worked the same job for decades and never sustained any injuries.

Unfortunately, the negligence of others often causes these accidents. You must know the appropriate steps to protect your interests in these instances. An experienced workplace accident attorney also protects your interests and obtains the maximum compensation you deserve.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!

Report Your Injuries

After being in a workplace accident, the first step you should take is to report your injuries to your employer. Your state and worker's compensation policy typically limit your time to report workers' comp injuries. As such, report it as soon as possible. Doing so can reduce the chances of your employer questioning precisely what happened to you or when.

Depending on your employer, you may need to talk to the owner, safety director, or supervisor to report your injuries. While you may provide a verbal report initially, you will also want to give a written report to document the accident and injuries. Have someone witness you giving the written report to your employer; that way, they can't say that you never made a report.

Request Medical Treatment

Make a request to your employer to receive medical treatment immediately. Under workers' compensation laws, employees who suffer an injury on the job are entitled to medical care.

However, the employer can direct your medical care and treatment in many states. They can tell you which doctors or medical facilities to go to, or they can let you select your own.

Either way, seek emergency medical care if you are experiencing a life- or limb-threatening emergency. The law provides that your employer pays for 100 percent of your medical care when you suffer an injury on the job.

If your employer tells you to see the doctor of your choice, try to get that from them in writing or at least in the presence of a witness who can corroborate that you did what your employer told you to do.

Make It Known That Your Injuries Are Work Injuries

When you go to the doctor or a medical facility to seek medical care, tell them you are there because you sustained injuries at work. Explain how you suffered these injuries and document the same on any paperwork you receive. Otherwise, the medical provider may unintentionally bill your health insurance for your care when they should be billing your employer.

If asked to provide your health insurance information, refer them to your employer, as the law requires them to foot the bill for your care and treatment.

Be Honest and Thorough With Your Doctor

When the doctor examines you, tell them all the medical conditions and symptoms you have from your workplace injury. For example, you may only focus on one injury that hurts the most or is causing you the most problems. This is only natural, but don't forget any other areas with pain or other symptoms, no matter how minor.

An easy way to take inventory and report pain or other symptoms is to start from your head and go down your body, noting anything abnormal when filling out paperwork or speaking to the doctor. Note pain, numbness, an inability to move, pain with movement, or any other symptoms that arose since your injury and are out of the ordinary for you.

If any of these minor injuries turn out to be significant injuries but aren't part of your initial exams, you can have trouble getting your employer to cover them. Suppose you go home and later experience additional symptoms or pain. In that case, you should immediately call your doctor and report what is happening.

Get Information from Your Doctor

Don't leave your doctor's appointment without getting critical information you must share with your employer and insurance carrier.

You will need to:

  • Ask them to put any applicable work restrictions in writing.
  • Get your prescriptions, and be sure to take them as directed.
  • Make copies of your prescriptions to share with your employer.
  • Have them write your treatment plan so that you can get it approved by your employer.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions about your physical activity, medications, work activities, and future treatments.

How to File a Workers' Compensation Claim

Filing a workers' compensation claim is essential for employees who have suffered work-related injuries or illnesses. The process ensures injured workers receive medical treatment and compensation for lost income during recovery. Here's what you need to do to file a workers' comp claim.

Report the Injury or Illness Immediately

When you suffer an injury or become aware of a work-related illness, report it to your employer or supervisor. Prompt reporting is crucial as many states have deadlines for filing workers' compensation claims. Failure to report within the specified timeframe can result in losing your right to benefits.

Seek Medical Attention

Get immediate medical attention for your injury or illness. Not getting medical attention when you have symptoms or learn of your injury can hurt your claim.

Document the Incident and Injury

Record the details of the incident that caused your injury or illness. Write down the date, time, location, and any witnesses present. This information will be helpful when filing your claim and may be necessary for verification.

Obtain and Complete the Necessary Forms

Your employer should provide you with the appropriate workers' compensation claim forms. Fill them out accurately and thoroughly. The forms typically require information about the incident, your injury, and other relevant details.

If you have questions about the forms, seek clarification from your employer or their insurance company.

Submit the Claim to Your Employer

Submit the completed claim forms to your employer or the designated person responsible for handling workers' compensation claims in your workplace. Ensure that you keep a copy for your records.

Follow Up with Your Employer

After submitting your claim, follow up with your employer to confirm they have received it and that it's in process. Stay informed about the status of your claim and any additional documentation or information required.

Consult with an Attorney

Reach out to a knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney. While many workers' compensation claims are straightforward, some cases may involve complexities or disputes.

Suppose you encounter any challenges or your claim is denied. In that case, having a workers' compensation attorney on your side is best. An attorney can provide legal guidance, advocate on your behalf, and protect your rights throughout the process.

Cooperate With the Claims Administrator

Cooperate fully with the claims administrator assigned to your case. They may investigate, review medical records, and interview witnesses to validate your claim. Providing accurate and truthful information is essential for the success of your claim.

Receive Benefits or Appeal Decision

If your claim is approved, you will start receiving workers' compensation benefits, which may include medical treatment coverage and income replacement payments. You can appeal the decision within the specified timeframe if your claim gets denied. Follow the appeals process outlined by your state's workers' compensation board or commission.

Filing a workers' compensation claim involves prompt reporting, documentation, and cooperation with your employer and the claims administrator. Seeking medical attention, accurately completing claim forms, and staying informed about the process are crucial to ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to under workers' compensation laws.

Each state has specific requirements and deadlines, so familiarize yourself with your state's regulations to protect your rights and navigate the process successfully.

What Do Workers Comp Benefits Include?

Workers' compensation benefits provide financial and medical support to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. The specific benefits available may vary depending on the state's workers' compensation laws and the nature of the injury or illness.

However, in general, workers' compensation benefits typically include:

  • Medical treatment: Workers' compensation covers the cost of medical treatment arising from a work-related injury or illness. This includes doctor visits, hospitalization, surgery, prescription medications, physical therapy, and other necessary medical care.
  • Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits: If the injured worker cannot work temporarily due to injury or illness, they may be entitled to receive income replacement benefits. TTD benefits typically provide a percentage of the worker's pre-injury income during their recovery period.
  • Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits: If the injury or illness results in a permanent impairment, the worker may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. The amount of PPD benefits depends on the extent of the impairment and the state's workers' compensation guidelines.
  • Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits: In cases where the injury or illness causes permanent total disability, preventing the worker from engaging in any gainful employment, they may receive PTD benefits. These benefits generally provide ongoing income replacement for the rest of the worker's life or until retirement.
  • Vocational rehabilitation: Workers' compensation may cover vocational rehabilitation services to help the injured worker return to work or obtain suitable employment if they cannot return to their previous job due to injury or illness.
  • Death benefits: If a work-related injury or illness results in the death of an employee, their dependents may be eligible for death benefits. These benefits often include financial support for funeral expenses and ongoing income replacement for the dependents.
  • Travel expenses: In some cases, workers' compensation may cover travel expenses related to medical treatment or vocational rehabilitation.

It's essential to note that workers' compensation benefits are typically available on a no-fault basis. This means workers can receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for the injury or illness. However, there are some limitations and exclusions in workers' compensation laws, such as injuries caused by intoxication or willful misconduct.

Contact a Seasoned Workplace Accident Lawyer

Richard Reinartz, Workers' Compensation Attorney
Richard Reinartz, Workers' Comp Lawyer

Unfortunately, far too many employers and their insurance companies attempt to skip out on having to pay workers' compensation claims. After all, the money comes out of their pockets. They use many different tactics to accomplish this. Therefore, hire a seasoned workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible to avoid a workers' compensation claim denial.

Your attorney will know the games employers and insurance companies play to avoid paying for your injuries and will stand up for your rights. The sooner you have a lawyer on your side, the better protection you will have.

If you are not receiving the benefits you need, have catastrophic injuries, or are struggling with the process in any way, make your first call to a personal injury attorney. Do not wait to get the help you need.