So much in life is about timing. Making sure you get your driver's license renewed in time, taxes filed, the list is endless. Getting workers' compensation and keeping payments coming is no different, and could make or break your case. The last thing you need when recovering from a work-related injury is having to wind your way through the confusing workers' comp maze filing the initial claim and beyond without help.
Here's a checklist for your claim be successful.
Give Prompt Notice
- Get medical help and tell your employer about your injury right away, no matter how big or small you think it is, the quicker you tell your employer, the better your outcome can be
- Fill out a workers' compensation claim form and give it to your employer. If you mail it, send it by certified mail and get a return receipt. Keep a copy of the form
- Make sure your employer actually files the workers' comp report with the insurance company. Get a copy of it
- The insurer should let you know the status of your claim within two weeks. Call the insurer if you don't hear from them
If Benefits Are Denied
- If the insurance company denies benefits, move quickly to file an application for an administrative hearing with your state workers' comp board
- Review your workers' comp file to see what's there
- Make a list of everything that's in your workers' comp file. Make copies of items that are important to your case
- Make three copies of your own medical records. This should include your physician's narrative, a copy of the medical form sent to workers' comp and copies of any test results. Keep one copy at home so you always have one
- Always make sure your doctors fills out the medical forms properly and fully to avoid having a hearing held up because a doctor forgot to check a box or answer a simple question
- Make sure your medical reports include how the injury is related to your job, the full diagnosis of the injury, the course of treatment, and any permanent or partial disability rating
- Fully document any mental disability, such as depression, that results from your injury
- Always save your notice of decision letters informing you of the judge's decision and how many days you have to appeal. Note the name of the judge
Get Expert Help
- If you suspect fraud on the part of your insurer or employer, report it to the fraud unit at the workers' compensation board
- Report medical fraud to your state's professional licensing office
- If you think your insurer acted improperly, file a complaint with your state's insurance department
- If you feel you're being discriminated against, file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- If you believe you're in an unsafe work environment, make a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- Find out who your claims examiner at the workers' compensation board is. They usually try to help injured workers
- You have a right to be retrained. Contact the local rehabilitation social worker at your workers' compensation board
- Consider hiring a workers' compensation attorney to help with your claim
Questions for Your Attorney
- Will I be able to select the doctor who treats my injury?
- Is it possible to collect workers' compensation benefits and still sue my employer or someone else who caused my accident?
- Can I collect workers' compensation for medical conditions cause by work-related stress?