Getting injured on the job creates a world of uncertainty and confusion with questions about getting medical treatment and paying bills while out of commission. Workers’ compensation insurance is supposed to cover each and every injury caused by work duties, but there is no shortage of horror stories regarding denial of compensable claims for work injuries. Getting advice from a qualified workers’ compensation attorney is the best advice one can take when hurt on the job, but the following four steps will assist in making a claim go smoothly:
Promptly Report the Injury
If you have been injured on the job, report the injury to a supervisor and document reporting the injury. Very often, people suffer what they think is a minor injury that will improve after a night’s sleep or weekend off work. After the condition doesn’t improve they decide to report it as being work-related and the insurance provider delays benefits while questioning when and where the injury occurred. Failing to report an injury is not always fatal to a case, but there have to be good reasons.
Follow the Doctor’s Orders
In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, an injured worker must “be cooperative” with the recommended course of treatment. While off work, the worker’s job is to attend medical appointments, therapy appointments and to give good faith efforts in any recommended courses of treatment.
Be Your Own Advocate
As a corollary to following doctor’s orders, an injured worker must remember the doctor is almost always chosen by the insurance company and will likely err on the side of the insurance company when making judgment calls. Accordingly, injured workers should write down information about pain-causing activities, questions about impairment or any other issue, and insist the writings be made part of the medical file.
If It Hurts, Don’t Do It
In many workers’ compensation cases, the worker is asked to return to work with some restrictions. A course of trial and error often determines where an individual’s limits rest. Workers are required to attempt working while recovering from injury, but are not required to work in pain. Only the worker knows his body and what does or does not cause pain. This information should be communicated, in writing, to the treating doctor as soon as possible.
Every claim is different but a good lawyer can provide a roadmap to success for any injured worker. Consulting a skilled advocate is the most important step in the process.
Author Info: Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can find her on Twitter.