Your employer deposits money into the workers’ compensation benefits program to compensate you for your injuries and your time lost from work if you’re injured on the job. You do not have to prove that your accident was due to the misconduct or negligence of others to qualify for benefits. When you accept workers’ compensation benefits, you release your employer from liability for your injuries. Workers’ compensation benefits can pay for your medical bills, lost wages, temporary partial disability, or full long-term disability from catastrophic work-related injuries and illnesses. Workers’ compensation also covers you while you perform duties for your employer on or off a job site and while you commute to and from work. Because workers’ compensation benefits are administered by the state, strict rules govern the benefits program.
Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers’ compensation applications must be timely filed. Your claim form must be correctly filled out and filed. Answering a question incorrectly can result in a permanent denial of your benefits. Ask a workers compensation lawyer to learn more about filing for your benefits. Your employee benefits office wants you to have the benefits, but they may not have completed many state workers’ compensation applications. If your employer misses a deadline or inaccurately describes your injuries, your benefits may be denied. Your employer may welcome your workers’ compensation lawyer who knows the answer to every question and completes numerous applications.
Get Immediate Emergency Medical Treatment
Doctor’s examinations with diagnosis codes are indisputable records of injuries and diagnosis. Doctors’ reports are admissible as evidence in court. The emergency room medical examination is a time-stamped record of the date and time that your injury occurred. The emergency medical report is not all-inclusive, but it documents the immediately visible injuries and rules out other possible injuries. The emergency room report is indicative of the type of medical treatment you are going to need.
Immediately Notify Your Employer of Your Injuries or Diagnosis
If your doctor tells you that your injury or illness is work-related from lifting heavy objects or from chemicals you use every day at work, for example. You must take your doctor’s diagnosis to your employer immediately. Your employer has a limited number of weeks, generally, four weeks to apply for your workers’ compensation benefits. A workers’ compensation benefits lawyer can help you get your benefits even if your employer would rather think that your illness is not work-related. An attorney can make sure you get all the types of benefits that are rightfully yours.
Notify your employer immediately if your work-related accident was caused by a motor vehicle or commercial truck accident. If you were driving the commercial vehicle, you need an accident attorney with specialized knowledge of commercial truck accidents and knowledge of the workers’ compensation benefits programs. Commercial truck accidents are governed by federal statutes, codes, and regulations, the United States Department of Transportation, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You need a personal injury lawyer who has settled or litigated commercial vehicle cases and has represented employees in workers’ compensation cases.
Workers’ Compensation Doctors
If you’re in the process of applying for workers’ compensation benefits through your state, you may wish to seek treatment from a physician employed by your workers’ compensation agency. Their physicians know how to complete benefits applications and their opinions are respected by your state agency. Don’t miss any doctors’ appointments, meetings, or court dates, especially if you’re in an appeal of the first denial of your benefits. An early denial of a timely filed application does not mean you are not entitled to benefits. It could mean that the agency needs more information to make a determination. The agency is more likely to listen to its own doctors and medical specialists.
Accurately and Honestly Explain How You Got Hurt
You may not be the only one who filed an incident report. You can be prosecuted for making false statements to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. You cannot file for workers’ compensation if you were hit in the rear in the fast food line after you finished running errands for your employer. You were also not on your way back to work. Explain how the accident happened even if you think you caused the accident. Workers’ compensation is no fault. To collect benefits, you merely have to prove that you were working when you got hurt.
Keep Your Own Records
Keeping your own records of injuries, medical bills, and insurance payments help you prove your case if there are inconsistencies in your records, your employer’s records, or an insurance company’s records. Pictures tell a thousand words. Pictures can protect you from lies told by others. If your employer or a doctor is not accurate during your workers’ compensation claim approval process, you may be denied benefits. You need to keep accurate records of the hours and days you lose from work while you are unable to work, when you had a doctor’s appointment, or when you went for medical treatment, physical therapy, or counseling to help you adjust to your new disability.
Make Sure Your Claim Form is Correctly Filed
Ask your employer for a copy of the workers’ compensation application filed on your behalf. Reread it, and take it to a workers’ compensation lawyer. Make sure the form is filed on time. Make your employer correct clerical errors, date and time errors, or any other mistakes that you think may make a difference in getting your benefits. For example, when employers complete unfamiliar forms, they input their information as they see fit. The workers’ compensation or disability program might require wages and time lost from work be written on the calendar on the form but the employer just writes the dates across the form. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you.
Federal employees must apply to the United States Department of Labor Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (DFEC). You should seek the assistance of a workers’ compensation lawyer. A Form CA-1, “Federal Employee’s Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation” or form CA-2 “Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation.” Federal employees can enroll online and submit their incident reports and medical records electronically through the Employees’ Compensation Operations and Management Portal (ECOMP). Claims must be filed within 30 days of the injury or within 30 days of the diagnosis or an employment-related illness.
If you retained a workers’ compensation lawyer and you immediately reported your injury or illness to your employer, your lawyer made sure your application was filed on time with your state’s workers’ compensation agency. Photograph your injuries as you recuperate, keep your documentation up to date, and seek medical treatment from health care providers that your state workers’ compensation agency employs. Understand your workers’ compensation benefits, and never miss any of your appointments. Your benefits will start soon.