Mistakes happen. Lack of understanding and knowledge is the main reason mistakes occur. Many times an injured worker is not aware of the benefits they are entitled to under the workers compensation arena. Employers will tell injured workers there is no workers compensation coverage to avoid a claim being filed, other times an injured worker is too afraid to file a claim due to fear of losing their job. If you don’t take action immediately, it could cost you. Since this process can be so confusing, here are the most common mistakes we have seen clients make with their workers compensation claims.
Mistake #1: Not Reporting The Injury To Your Employer
You must immediately notify your employer after you’ve been injured. It is your responsibility. Although you have 30 days to notify your employer, it is recommended you notify them right away. Many injured workers assume their doctor or supervisor will notify their employer. However, it is not the responsibility of your doctor or co-worker to notify your employer. Although notifying a supervisor or manager seems sufficient, it’s best you find out exactly who to report the injury to, as many supervisors or managers will not go the extra length to help you after you’ve been injured. It’s best to not only report the injury, but to also fill out an accident report and make yourself a copy.
Mistake #2: Assuming Your Injury Is Not Work-Related
Don’t let a preexisting condition prevent you from filing a workers compensation claim. Many injured workers believe that a preexisting condition disqualifies them from filing a claim, this is false. Even if you have a preexisting condition, if that condition has been aggravated by an injury at work, you can file a claim.
Mistake #3: Treating With Your Own Primary Care Physician After An Injury
It is important to seek medical care after a work related injury, but you must seek treatment with a workers compensation doctor. Many injured workers assume they can treat with any doctor they choose, however benefits may be denied due to treatment outside the workers compensation network. In addition, doctors who do not handle workers compensation claims will not be given the proper authorizations by the insurance carrier leaving you to cover the bill.
Mistake #4: Don’t Forget To Obtain A Second Opinion
If you were evaluated by a workers compensation doctor and disagree with their assessment, you have a right to seek a second opinion. You will want to act quick in doing so as there may be deadlines to dispute the previous doctors assessment. In a majority of cases, in order to overcome the previous doctors adverse assessment, you must provide a second opinion, as this evidence is extremely crucial in winning your dispute.
Mistake #5: Waiting Too Long to File Your Claim
At times, your employer may not be willing to help. You may have notified your employer and they have done nothing to assist you with your workers compensation claim. Some injured workers wait weeks before acting, but it’s important you act immediately when you notice the employer is not willing to help. You should either consult an attorney or file a claim with the division of workers compensation office in your local area to get your claim started.