In the United States, there are employment laws in place to ensure the safety of all workers. One of these laws states that your employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance pays a portion of your salary in the event you are hurt on the job and cannot work. However, many injured workers make mistakes that may keep them from receiving the benefits they are entitled to. Below are 5 common mistakes injured workers make that might affect the outcome of claims:
1. Missing Doctor’s Appointments: In order for your claim to be valid, you must be evaluated by a physician. This doctor will likely make recommendations to your employer and insurance company regarding your ability to return to work. Failing to keep all of your appointments may give the insurance company the impression that you are unwilling to comply. In addition, you should try to give your doctor as much detail about your medical history as possible. Failing to create an accurate and complete medical record may appear as though you are trying to hide prior health issues.
2. Waiting too Long to Report the Accident: The single most important step in collecting workers’ compensation is reporting your accident. While this seems like a basic step, workers may not report their accident promptly. To be considered for workers’ compensation, there is a specific time limit in which workers are eligible to report their injury. The best way to avoid missing the deadline is to report your injury as soon as possible. Another common mistake is using your one’s own private insurance to see a doctor for a work-related injury.
3. Non-compliance with Doctor’s Recommendations: Your doctor will likely give you instructions on what you are able to do and when. If you are not working due to an injury, it is possible you will be unable to participate in recreational activities. This also includes attending any therapy sessions your doctor has ordered for you.
4. Refusal of Light Duty Work: If you doctor feels you can return to work on light duty, you should comply. You may not be completely recovered, or you may be anxious about returning to work, but you don’t want to be perceived as difficult. Tell your doctor about your reservations, but follow his or her recommendations. In the event you cannot continue on light duty work due to pain, take it up with your doctor.
5. Settling too Quickly: Settling your claim quickly is one of the biggest mistakes workers make. Insurance companies know you need money to live and will likely offer you the lowest possible amount for settlement. Injured workers also need to have another job before settling a workers’ compensation claim. If you cannot return to your original position due to limitations from your accident, your employer may be required to provide you with additional training. In many cases, employers must also place you in a job you can do.
Taking the time to follow the proper steps in filing a workers’ compensation claim is key to collecting the benefits you deserve. Always file a claim, whether or not you lost time from work. This can help ensure you are covered if problems from the injury come up later.
If you have been injured at work, consider contacting a Palm Beach County workers’ compensation lawyer with experience in employment law. An attorney can help protect your rights and the financial resources you need to move forward in your life.
Thanks to our colleagues from The Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for their insight into common workers compensation claim mistakes to avoid.