Work Injury Claims: Steps Necessary for Compensation
When you are hurt on the job, knowing how the work injury claims process works can make you feel more secure. Workers compensation insurance is handled differently in every state, so although many parts of the process are similar you should check with a local workers compensation attorney regarding the law in your state and any applicable deadlines or procedures.
What is Workers Comp?
Workers compensation is a no-fault insurance program that can pay your medical expenses and replace some of your income if you are injured on the job. This means that it does not matter if the accident was your fault, or your employer's fault or simply an accident.
Steps For Compensation
There are several important steps you need to take in order to ultimately receive workers compensation benefits for a work related injury:
1. Notify your employer.
- It is extremely important that you notify your employer as soon as possible that you have been injured on the job and that you intend to make a workers compensation claim.
- If you don't notify your employer and then later realize the injury is more serious than you originally thought, you could have missed a key deadline necessary to get benefits.
- Every state has different deadlines. Make sure you know what the rules are in your state. In most states you have 30 days to report a work injury, but for some it is 60 or more. However, in Kansas, you only have 10 days to notify your employer.
2. Seek medical treatment from a list of doctors that are provided to you by your employer and/or their workers compensation insurance company.
- Emergency situations aside, depending on the state you live in, you may be allowed to see your own doctor and then also be required to see a workers comp doctor; just make sure you know what is required.
- Follow the instructions you are given by the workers compensation doctor regarding medication, ongoing treatment, surgery, physical therapy. If you fail to comply with their instructions your claim can be denied because your own actions (or lack of action) can be seen as contributing to your continuing illness.
- Don't miss any medical appointments.
3. Keep records of everything. Include dates, where treatment occurred, who the doctor or therapist was and keep notes about what you were told at each visit.
- If your claim is challenged, the evidence that you have been compiling can be important in an appeal.
- Complete forms given to you by your employer after you notify them of your injury in a timely manner. These forms will be used by the insurance company to decide the validity of you claim.
Get Legal Help
You are entitled to hire an attorney who specializes in workers compensation law to assist you at any point in the process. Having an attorney who has filled out hundreds of successful claim applications can maximize the effectiveness of your submission. Don't wait until you are denied benefits to seek legal help.