How to navigate a worker-related injury can overwhelm you, especially if you have never received injuries while on the job. By working with one of the workers’ compensation lawyers at Morgan & Morgan, you should understand the steps to follow, as well as the order of the steps, to file the most convincing workers’ comp claim possible.
Seek Immediate Medical Care
Before you complete a worker’s compensation claim form, you have to get your injury or injuries taken care of by a healthcare provider. Even if you feel your injuries are not serious enough to warrant a visit with your physician, the workers’ compensation process requires you to get medical care. If your doctor recommends that you should not work until your injury heals, make sure to ask for notes that document your physician’s recommendation. You also should ask your doctor to complete a form describing the prognosis for you to make a full recovery.
Let Your Employer Know
You must report the workplace accident that generated your injury or injuries to your employer as soon as possible after the accident. Your employer then creates an accident report that provides the insurance company with information detailing what transpired before, during, and after the workplace accident. If you suffer an injury with slow-developing symptoms, notify your employer as soon as the symptoms start to appear. In most states, you lose your right to file a workers’ compensation claim if you do not file the form within 30 days after the workplace accident.
Complete the Worker’s Compensation Claim Form
Your employer gives you a workers’ compensation form to fill out. Depending on the state where you live, you might have to report the claim to the state workers’ compensation board. Complete every section and make sure the information you submit is accurate. Specify the type of injury or injuries that resulted from a workplace accident, as well as describe in detail what caused the accident.
Submitting convincing evidence is the key to gaining approval for your workers’ compensation claim. Evidence comes in the form of the copies of every medical record and if possible, security camera footage that documents what transpired before, during, and after the workplace accident. The names of witnesses supporting your version of events can boost the chances of the insurance company approving your claim.
Your Employer Submits the Workers’ Compensation Claim
After you accurately complete every section of the claim form, you must hand over the paperwork to your employer for submission to your employer’s insurance company. Your physician submits your medical records, as well as a formal report detailing the extent of your injuries. Every documented medical expense should also go to your employer’s insurance company. Depending on the state where you live, you might have to submit a copy of your claim to the state workers’ compensation board.
The Insurance Company’s Decision
After receiving the required paperwork, your employer’s insurer conducts a thorough review of your claim before issuing a decision. You might have to undergo an independent medical examination to confirm the diagnosis made by your physician. If your employer’s insurance company questions the validity of your claim, the insurer conducts an investigation that includes interviewing witnesses and examining the evidence gathered and organized by you and your workers’ compensation lawyer.
Getting Back to Work
The timing of when you return to work depends on the recommendations made by your doctor. Do not allow your employer to put pressure on you to return to work before your injuries have healed. According to federal law, your employer is responsible for accommodating any workplace changes that make it easier for you to work with your injury or injuries. For example, if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, your employer can accommodate you by mixing up your daily tasks to minimize repetitive motions.