Getting unexpected time off from work is something everyone enjoys unless the sudden vacation is due to an injury. Not only is your health potentially at risk, but your financial stability can also be impacted.
If you’re injured at work, worker’s compensation typically kicks in and this should mean your expenses are covered. However, navigating the complexities of worker’s compensation isn’t easy, even with help from your employer.
To help ensure you are getting the most out of your worker’s compensation claim, here are a few mistakes you want to avoid.
Don’t Wait to Notify Your Employer
Even though this isn’t exactly a common mistake it’s definitely one you want to avoid. You don’t have forever to file a worker’s compensation claim and the process starts by notifying your employer.
Florida gives employees 30 days to report a workplace injury, there really aren’t any exceptions. Even if the injury results in a coma, your employer should still be aware of your injury. After all, it’s a little hard to miss emergency vehicles showing up at your workplace.
If you wait past the 30-day statute, you may not be able to claim worker’s compensation. The insurance provider typically views this as a non-serious injury that doesn’t require medical care or time off from work.
Delaying Medical Attention
Once your employer is aware of your accident, the next step is seeking medical attention. While there isn’t a time limit on when you can see a physician, delaying medical treatment can affect your worker’s compensation claim. Delaying medical care can also put your health are risk, and this is something you never want to do.
Why is seeking medical care so important? Your medical records go a long way toward supporting your injury claim. Your medical records can also determine which benefits you are eligible to receive and the amount of compensation.
Before you pick a physician at random, make sure they are authorized by your employer’s insurance company. The last thing you want is to get stuck with the medical bills. You also want to keep all medical records, bills, and prescription records. These will be necessary to keep your worker’s comp claim moving forward.
Not Paying Attention to the Claim Forms
Okay, so no one enjoys filing out forms, even for worker’s compensation. However, this is something you don’t want to ignore or rush through. You must fill out every correctly, and you can’t skip over one. Your information must be accurate and verifiable.
Incorrectly filed forms or paperwork with missing information will, at the least, delay processing your claim, and you may even trigger an investigation, which can take months to resolve.
Sometimes, it can cause an automatic denial of your claim and this can be a mess. Trying to reopen a denied worker’s compensation claim often takes a skilled attorney’s expertise.
If your case is complex, it’s often best to have an attorney help with the forms. They understand the complexities of worker compensation forms and will help ensure yours are correct before submitting them to the insurance company.
Failing to Follow Your Treatment Plan
Surprisingly, not everyone injured at work follows their physician’s advice. Whether it’s taking prescribed medication, showing up for a follow-up appointment, or skipping out on rehabilitation, some individuals mistakenly believe they know what’s best for their recovery. Even if this is true, it doesn’t help your worker’s compensation case.
Remember the medical records you need to present to the insurance company? They will review your file, including your treatment plan.
If your records aren’t showing you’re following medical advice, it can be grounds for a case denial. The insurance adjuster may believe your injuries aren’t serious enough to warrant financial compensation.
If your case isn’t denied, the amount of your claim can be significantly reduced. After all, you shouldn’t need full compensation if you don’t need medical treatment.
Giving Up on a Denied Worker’s Compensation Claim
Being told your worker’s compensation claim is denied is depressing and frustrating. You have medical expenses and possibly lost wages. Now, it seems like you’re on the hook for all of the costs relating to your workplace accident.
Thankfully, a claim denial doesn’t mean there’s no hope of receiving compensation. You can file an appeal and start the claims process all over again. Don’t panic. Filing an appeal doesn’t mean starting from the very beginning, only that you need to review every aspect of your case. You may only be missing some medical records or inputting the wrong information on the claims form.
Take a deep breath and review the reason the worker’s compensation claim was denied—however, don’t wait too long to file an appeal since there’s a deadline you don’t want to miss. Your filing deadline can vary, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible.
If you can’t find your appeal deadline on the rejection letter, contact your employer or the company’s insurance provider. You may also find the information in your employee worker’s compensation guide. Most employees receive one during their onboarding process.
What Worker’s Compensation Can Cover
Every worker’s compensation claim is different and this includes what you may be eligible to receive. However, most types of worker’s compensation policies cover the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Ongoing care costs
Funeral expenses are also covered under worker’s compensation if the accident results in a fatality. Your loved ones can file a claim in your name to cover all expenses relating to the injury. Your family, typically a spouse, may also be entitled to other types of financial compensation.
However, this typically involves filing a wrongful death claim and this isn’t covered by worker’s compensation.
Work With an Attorney to Get the Most From Your Worker’s Compensation Claim
Navigating the worker’s compensation claims process can be confusing, especially when you’re also recovering from your injuries.
To ensure your paperwork is correctly submitted and you’re not missing any deadlines, it’s usually best to work with an experienced worker’s compensation attorney.