You are usually not allowed to sue your employer for a workplace accident, but that doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to seek compensation. Your employer is required, in every state except Texas, to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover these types of accidents, but that requires going through a complex claims process. The following overview will help you go through the steps required to pursue a successful claim.
Report Your Accident
You should report your workplace accident to your employer as soon after your accident as you are able. If your injuries are severe and require immediate attention, you should see a doctor before talking to your employer about the accident. When you do report your accident to your employer, it is important to fill out a written form or provide a written statement that describes the accident in detail. Your report should describe what, where, how, and when the accident happened. Providing as many details as you can remember will ensure the insurance company has all of the information they need in order to process your claim.
Seek Medical Attention
Another immediate concern is a medical evaluation to ensure you receive proper treatment of your injuries. The workers’ compensation insurance company will need proof of your injuries before they will consider approving a claim for coverage. This is partly to ensure you’re seeking only the amount necessary to cover the cost of treatment for your injuries. Copies of your medical records and bills will establish what injuries you suffered and how much it will cost to treat those injuries. It is also important to seek medical attention to identify injuries that you may not know you have sustained. Serious head trauma, neck, and spine injuries can all take several days to manifest, but an early diagnosis can greatly improve your chances for a full recovery. Seeking treatment as soon as you’re able will benefit your health condition and the success of your claim.
It is not uncommon for an initial workers’ compensation claim to be denied, so you may have to file an appeal. Having evidence that proves your claim will increase your chances of getting the denial reversed, so try to gather as much evidence as possible. In addition to collecting copies of your medical records, you can use your phone to take pictures of the area where your accident occurred. If the incident involved the use of special equipment, faulty safety features, or other conditions that contributed to the accident, you should take pictures of these things as well. Photographic proof is very helpful in establishing a claim, so be sure to take plenty of clear pictures.
Talk to Witnesses
It can also help to have witnesses who will be willing to back up your story, so try to talk to any co-workers who saw the accident. You’ll need to collect their names and phone numbers. It may also be helpful to know the titles of their positions and their addresses, so the insurance company will be able to contact them. You should talk to each witness to explain that the insurance company may be contacting them about your accident, so they won’t be taken by surprise.
Consult an Attorney
While you aren’t required to retain personal injury lawyer services, doing so can benefit you throughout the process. Your attorney can help you file a more successful claim process, and they can help you negotiate for a fairer settlement. In many cases, insurance companies are more willing to negotiate with experienced lawyers than with individual claimants. Your lawyer will know how insurance companies handle your type of claim, so they can use the law in your favor. When you consult a lawyer, the first meeting is sometimes free and will provide you with an evaluation that will tell you what your lawyer thinks your claim is worth.
Your ability to recover from your workplace injuries will depend on a successful workers’ compensation claim. Following these steps will help you meet the requirements that insurance companies establish in order to weed out false claims. While it may seem like a complicated process, it’s the only way you can get the compensation you’ll need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Author information: Rayanne Morriss is currently working towards her BA from Oregon State University. She loves to read, travel, and paint. She enjoys finding new coffee shops with friends and expanding her cooking skills.