Accident At Work Claim: The Process
If you have an accident at work claim because you were hurt on the job and cannot work, you should understand the claim process. Workers compensation, also called workers comp is an insurance program that most employers are required to participate in on behalf of their employees.
- Workers comp can pay for medical expenses if you are hurt at work or develop an illness that is directly related to your job.
- You can also receive benefits to replace part of of your salary while you recover from your illness or injury.
- This is "no-fault" insurance, which means you can still receive benefits if the accident was your fault.
- You will not be eligible for benefits if the accident at your job happened while you were committing a crime.
The workers compensation claims process is fairly straightforward, but you need to keep in mind there is a deadline for how long you have to notify your employer that you were injured or became ill at work at intend to file a claim.
- Workers compensation laws vary by state, so it is important to find out what the deadline is in the state where you work.
The first step in the process is to notify your employer of the injury. The person you notify needs to be someone in authority; it can be your supervisor or someone from personnel or human resources. If your notice to them is verbal, find out if and how you have to put it in writing.
- Your employer has the next step in the process; they need to notify their insurance company or if they are self-insured they will notify your state workers compensation board of your injury.
- Simultaneously with this you are likely seeking medical treatment for your injury or illness. Some state laws (New Jersey is a good example) allow the employer or their insurance carrier to select the doctor(s) who are allowed to treat you for a work related injury.
Following the doctor's advice and keeping all your scheduled appointments for further treatment or evaluation is a critical part of the process. It will help establish the validity of your claim.
- Even if you are allowed to select your own doctors, you may be required to visit a workers compensation doctor who will evaluate your condition and report back to the insurance company.
- You do not pay for this visit, and you might be eligible for travel reimbursement if the doctor is far from your home.
- Write down a record of your appointments and what happened at each in case you need to refer to it later.
Get Legal Help
If your claim is denied, or there is a delay in receiving your benefits contact an attorney who specializes in workers compensation right away. You should consider discussing your case with an attorney right after you discover you are injured; an attorney can help guide you through the claims process. Remember that the insurance company works for your employer. You deserve your own representation which you can get from an attorney.