The most common workplace injuries in the U.S, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), result from overexertion, falls, slips, and trips, and contact with hazardous objects. Some injuries are minor inconveniences and discomforts, while others are disabling and career-ending. Although getting injured is sometimes difficult to prevent, making common workers’ comp mistakes that could deny you the insurance settlement you deserve is much easier to avoid.
Whichever type of personal injury you suffered at work, here are some workers’ compensation missteps to avoid and boost your chances of recovering full benefits:
Not Reporting the Injury on Time
Regardless of your on-the-job injury type, report it to your employer as soon as possible, in writing. Verbal notification is not enough to set the claims process in motion. The deadline for notifying your employer differs from state to state, but it’s often 30 days or even a year. In Maryland, for example, you have to notify within 10 days of sustaining the injury at work.
Not reporting your injury on time could raise suspicions about the validity and severity. You’ll want to avoid giving your employer a reasonable basis for contesting your claim.
Not Filing the Claim on Time
You may lose your right to your insurance claim if you don’t file it with the workers’ compensation agency or board of your state on time. The deadline (usually 1-2 years) and the procedure for this step differ from state to state. Most states will allow you a longer window to legally file your claim for an occupational health complication that developed over time.
Always file your claim as soon as possible, no matter the time deadline. The sooner you do that, the sooner you can receive your insurance settlement.
Not Seeking Treatment
If you’ve sustained a work-related injury, seek medical treatment right away. This can help you recover more quickly and get you back to work. An equally vital objective is to maximize your workers’ comp benefits. Not going to a hospital in time may limit the scope of treatment you may receive as per your state workers’ comp laws.
Keep in mind that your employer and their attorney could contest that your injury is not work-related. It’s well within their legal rights to argue that way. Timely treatment and medical reports will help to counter that argument successfully.
Poor Record Keeping
Workers’ comp laws provide for multiple compensable damages. You need to accurately document all your suffering and financial losses to maximize your settlement. Good record keeping includes:
- Tracking all your off-work days to help compute lost wages.
- Accounting for all treatment expenses, including hospitalization, drugs, and assistive medical devices.
- Obtaining documented or written medical doctor’s testimony detailing any mental anguish, physical pain, or suffering.
Not Seeking Legal Help
The vast majority of workers’ comp claims are settled out of court, but a qualified attorney working with you from step one can help avoid potentially damaging workers’ comp missteps. A lawyer can guide you through the claims process and help you find the right doctors as per your state’s legal requirements. They know which experts to talk to and how and where to gather evidence to strengthen your case.
With your attorney by your side, you have a bigger bargaining advantage. Also, the law requires your lawyer to protect your interests throughout negotiations or in court.
Avoid these common workers’ compensation missteps to help you get the personal injury settlement you deserve. Workers’ compensation insurance and benefits can be hard to understand. The experts at Pittman Insurance Group, LLC are available to discuss and clarify any questions you might have about workers’ compensation insurance. Contact us right now to get answers from our experienced representative.