If you are injured on the job, worker’s compensation provides financial assistance to help pay for your medical expenses and some of your lost wages. But several things may affect whether or not you can receive these benefits.
For example, if you falsify information on your worker’s compensation claim form, intentionally injure yourself to obtain benefits, don’t cooperate with an investigation into your injury, or lose a body part due to something other than an accident at work, most states will deny or discontinue any benefit payments until they can recover back-payments.
So here is what every worker needs to know about filing a workers compensation claim.
§ Don’t perform a job function that is not required for your pre-injury job duties: You may be tempted to return to work too soon, especially if your doctor allows you, but don’t do it. In most states, the worker’s compensation laws require that you wait three days after the injury before returning to work and establish a maximum number of hours allowed back on the job during any given period. If you violate either or both rules, you will likely lose all benefits until they can recover back payments made. You can seek such advice from a trusted law firm like the House of Workers Compensation.
§ Report your injury immediately: You must report your injury right away as the statutes in most states determine whether or not an injury occurred within 12 months from the time of the injury. If you delay reporting, your claim could be disputed by the insurance company that pays the bills.
§ Follow all medical protocols: Be honest with your doctor so that they can properly diagnose your problem. Also, follow all medical treatment protocols to ensure that any permanent disability is minimized or removed entirely. Insurance companies are not required to pay for future life care planning expenses following an injury, so don’t expect them to.
§ Don’t agree to settle your case before you have completed the necessary treatments. Sometimes, injured workers are tempted into settling their cases early for a quick buck to get rid of the insurance company’s lawyer, who calls them every day, demanding settlement several times a day. It is indeed possible to receive a lump sum settlement, but there is no guarantee that you will receive enough to allow you to buy a new house or car, which your medical condition might require.
§ Monitor the status of your worker’s compensation claim: You should know what kind of benefits (temporary and permanent) are available to you under the specific laws in your state. Also, find out what happens if other people injure you while working, causing further injury and disability. Having this information available will help make sure that an insurance company representative doesn’t delay payment or deny legitimate claims for needed care and assistance.
§ Suppose it is later discovered that you intentionally lied or provided false statements about important facts surrounding your injury, including who injured you and what your problems were. In that case, the court may rule that any benefits already received will need to be repaid. Do not give false statements on any legal documents about your case.
§ Never hide a pre-existing medical condition: Acting as if you don’t know about your pre-injury medical conditions can be construed as misrepresentation or fraud on your part. The only exception would be when workers’ compensation fails to notify an open case due to a mistake like a wrong address or phone number. But even in such instances, it is best to report the problem as soon as possible so that the insurance company doesn’t accuse you of withholding information needed for a fair settlement.
Filing a worker’s compensation claim is not as hard as some people think. It entails the same process as filing any other legal case. Just ensure that you have all the documents and information you need to file an efficient and effective claim.