Workers’ compensation insurance exists as a way to cover the costs of work related injuries and illnesses. The majority of employers are legally obligated to maintain workers’ compensation insurance policies. The trade-off for employers and employees is that most employee work related injuries and illnesses cannot lead to lawsuits that are filed in court. The benefit to the employer is the avoidance of lawsuits, the benefit to the employee is that they are covered by these policies even when they suffer from a no fault injury. In fact, the employee may have been careless at work, and thereby contributed to the injury, and they would still be covered.
This might make it sound easy for employees to benefit from workers’ compensation insurance policies, but that might not always be the case. Insurers are not usually happy to pay out to injured employees, and employers do not like increased premiums. As a result many workers’ compensation claims face challenges. If the insurer sees a weakness in your claim, be it the severity of your injury, or the causal link between your injury and your job, or anything else that could allow them to avoid an expensive payout, they will likely take every opportunity to exploit that weakness.
By approaching the claims process methodically, and in a timely manner you can increase your chances of a successful claim.
File your claim promptly
If your work related injury happened as a result of a workplace accident, then there will be a clear time when your window in which to file your claim will begin to run. This is more complicated with gradual long-term injuries, and illnesses, but even in these, employees who receive a diagnosis from a doctor, and who know the injury seems likely to be related to work, a claim should be filed expeditiously. The time you have to file your claim will vary based on what state you live and work in, it might be in the range of 30 days, but it could be a very short window, such as a matter of days.
Tell your employer
The first part of filing a claim will imply notifying your employer that you were injured, that work was the cause for the injury, and that you are filing for workers’ compensation. Your employer might have forms that you must complete, and they will likely have to file a claim with their insurance company. Some states also require you to file a claim with your state agency. You might be required to see a physician hired by the insurance company. This doctor will assess your condition and report back to the insurance company. If you are required to undergo such an exam, remember that this doctor is not your doctor, and they are being paid by someone who would like to avoid paying for your medical bills and disability. With that said, failing to cooperate can cost you your claim in many places. That does not mean that you have to volunteer extra information, or chat with them as if they are your friend.
Do not get complacent
Even once you filed your claim, you should be sure to stay on top of your records and claim. Make sure that there are not any outstanding documents missing from your file, and that your claim is being processed. In the meantime, be certain to keep records of all of the related medical treatment and bills you receive as a result of the work related medical issue. If your injury or illness creates challenges for you during your daily routine, keep a record of it, such as a journal. In the event that your claim is denied, you will likely have the opportunity to appeal your case. If this occurs, the more evidence you have to back your claim, the better position you will be in.
Workers’ compensation benefits exist to help individuals suffering from work related injuries and illnesses and if you have suffered from such an illness or injury, you are entitled to those benefits. Medical bills can be extremely costly, and time off of work for recovery can create hardships, making paying for general necessities a challenge. As such, the stakes of your claim are high. Be sure that you are taking all of the necessary steps to increase your ability to recover benefits.
If you are involved in a workers’ compensation claim, you should speak to an experienced attorney. Your attorney will understand the process, and be able to give you advice specific to your own personal claim and needs.
Contact Stern Law, PLLC for A Free Consultation
At Stern Law, PLLC, we have compassionate and caring attorneys ready to work with you in order to find the best way strategy for seeking compensation for your job related injuries. Contact Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.