worker compensation file with judge's gavel

7 Workers’ Compensation Claim Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There are an average of three million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses that occur at places of work every year. Most of the workers involved in those incidents are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

In order to receive the benefits that you deserve, though, you need to ensure that you accurately file a workers’ compensation claim. Taking too long to file the claim and not adequately documenting the incident are just two examples of mistakes that could hinder the process and result in you not receiving benefits.

If you’re interested in knowing the most common workers’ compensation claims and how to avoid them, keep reading.

1. Failing to Report Your Accident as Soon as Possible

One of the biggest and most common mistakes is not submitting claims on time. This is a mistake that will cost you money and a lot of headaches in the long run.

If you want a chance at receiving benefits and compensation, then you need to report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. It shouldn’t take you longer than five days to report it.

A verbal report won’t cut it. You need to give a written report.

The written report should be truthful, detailing the extent of your injuries and the events that preceded the incident. This way, the insurance company will find it difficult to poke holes in your story and find inconsistencies to use against you.

Reporting workplace accidents immediately after they occur is the best way to avoid this.

2. Not Adequately Documenting the Details

When an incident occurs at work that results in an injury, it’s vital that you collect as much evidence and proof as possible. If you don’t document the incident, then it is simply your word against the insurance company.

Ask all the important questions — who, what, when, where, how much, and what else? Take photos when the incident occurs, get reports from any eye-witnesses, and ask them to sign their statements. Every bit of evidence that you can secure will help immensely when making your claim.

Keep detailed notes of everything that occurs following the incident, too. If possible, ask for urgent care or emergency room reports, too. Compile a dossier of important workers’ comp documents to help your case.

3. Not Hiring an Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Attempting to secure compensation benefits from a workers’ comp claim can be a complex and lengthy process. If you hope to receive the best compensation possible, then hiring a workers’ comp lawyer is a must.

You simply don’t have the legal know-how and expertise of the ins and outs of the workers’ comp system. It’s not a simple and straightforward process and without a lawyer, you may receive subpar benefits, if any.

Most workers’ comp lawyers charge on a contingency basis, so don’t make the mistake of not hiring an attorney because you’re worried about fees. You’ll only need to pay them once they’ve secured a settlement for you.

4. Not Explaining Your Injury in Detail to Healthcare Providers

The workers’ compensation benefits that you will be entitled to are very much based on your medical records and the accident report made at your place of work.

If a dispute arises and the insurance company attempts to contest the claim, one of the first places they’ll look is at your medical records. So too will a judge when making their decision about the claim.

This is why it is so important to fully explain your injury to the medical provider that you see — especially if they are appointed by the insurance company.

5. Not Getting a Second Opinion

When you’re injured at work, you have to visit the doctor that is appointed by your employer. However, if you have your own doctor that you visit when sick or injured, seek their expertise, too.

Your doctor knows you and your medical history and will give you better medical counsel. Your doctor’s opinion, especially if it contradicts the employer-appointed doctor, will be important in securing compensation.

6. Ignoring Doctor’s Orders

If you don’t adequately follow your doctor’s orders your claim will seem disingenuous. This means that you should never miss a doctor’s appointment or rehabilitation session, and you need to adhere to the recovery routine that they have set out for you.

Workers’ compensation benefits are in place to assist injured workers as they recover. If you are disrupting your own healing process, your claim may be denied or your benefits discontinued.

If you disagree with your doctor’s orders, don’t simply ignore them. There are official steps you can take with the help of an attorney to ensure that you’re still in bounds to receive benefits on different terms that better suit you.

7. Going Back to Work Too Soon

Every day that you’re not at work it costs the insurance company money. It makes sense for that reason that the insurance company will attempt to pressure your employer to find work for you.

This may be work that isn’t in your job description, such as simple labor, to keep you busy just so that you’re back at work and the insurance company can decrease your benefits.

You should request a job description of your job from your employer. Then, ask your doctor to review the job description and advise whether you are capable to undertake the duties according to your injury and recovery.

Make Sure You Get the Most Out of Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

It’s important that when you make a workers’ compensation claim, you don’t become a victim because of silly mistakes that could have been avoided. Ensure that you file the claim as soon as possible and hire a workers’ comp attorney to support and advise you throughout the proceedings.

It’s important to file an accurate and timely claim. If you need help with your workers’ compensation claim, we’re here to assist you — get in touch with us today.