What to Do If You Suffer a Work Injury
It doesn’t matter how much work a company puts into workplace safety. Accidents still happen.
Luckily, you have workers’ compensation insurance for when that happens. In 2017 alone, there were more than $45 million in claims paid out by insurance.
Things can seem overwhelming when you suffer from a work injury, and you might not know what to do. This post will tell you what you need to know. Follow the steps below if you’ve experienced an injury at work.
File a Report With Your Company
Whenever you suffer an injury at work, always report it as soon as you have the chance. The way you report this will vary based on your company and your state.
In many states, you’re required to notify your employer in writing. But even if this isn’t the case, it’s still smart to do it this way.
Never wait to do this either. You have a limited amount of time to make your claim. Your time limit will vary on the state you’re in, so make sure you don’t take too long.
If you don’t meet your state’s deadline for reporting an injury, you won’t be able to claim any benefits.
See a Doctor
If you haven’t already seen a doctor about your injury, then now is the time. You need to get an accurate account of your workplace injury. Whether or not you can see your own doctor will depend on your state.
Many states and companies will require you to see a doctor provided by them. The good news is that it comes at no cost to you. You won’t lose anything by going to the company doctor.
After you get your initial workup, you do have the chance to get a second opinion. In most cases, this won’t be necessary. But if you don’t like the diagnosis given by the company doctor, you have the right to get a second opinion.
Like your accident filing, you have a limited amount of time to see a doctor. If you wait too long, you risk your claim being denied.
Determine if You Need a Lawyer
In many cases, your workers’ compensation case will be open and shut. You won’t have any problems getting a settlement for your case.
In some cases, things aren’t so simple. If you have a complicated case, then it may be worthwhile to bring a lawyer on board. If you don’t know what to do, a lawyer will be able to help you navigate the legal hurdles that come your way.
The chances are that this will occur in larger settlements with insurance companies. Whether it’s to help you fill out the paperwork correctly or file an appeal for a denied claim, a lawyer will increase your chance of winning your case.
A lawyer may also be necessary if your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance is required by law for companies to have, so you probably won’t encounter this. But if you do face this situation, then an attorney will be able to help you through the process.
In many cases, you won’t have any fees. You can retain a lawyer on contingency. This means that you’ll use a percentage of your settlement earnings to pay your lawyer’s fee.
Get the Paperwork Done
After you have your doctor visit out of the way, you need to get your paperwork done. To figure out what forms you need to fill out, you’ll need to talk to your company.
This should be a straightforward process since you aren’t bringing a lawsuit against your employer. You’re asking for compensation from their insurance provider. They have no reason to fight against you on it.
Make sure you fill out every detail in your paperwork. You’ll need to know your injury date, location, medical information, and any other relevant information. Once you’re done, make sure you sign and date it.
At this point, return your paperwork to your employer. They have their own section to fill out. Once they finish, they will file the claim with their workers’ compensation insurance provider.
Wait For Your Decision
Once your paperwork is filed, all you can do is wait. Make sure you continue seeing your doctor and continue your treatment during this time.
You’ll need to keep track of your time off work and begin to estimate any future medical expenses. Workers’ compensation will cover these expenses, so you need to keep accurate records to get your full settlement.
It shouldn’t take long to get your results. At most, you’ll be waiting for up to four weeks.
It’s against the law for insurance companies to drag out the claims process for these cases. If you find yourself in this situation, the contact your state government. The insurance company may end up approving your claim automatically.
Decide What to Do With Your Outcome
After the insurance company decides your case, it’s up to you about how you want to process.
If the case worked out in your favor, you need to decide on how you want your settlement to be paid out. If you take a lump sum option, the insurance company will give you your compensation in one payment.
Your other option is a structured settlement. These payments will be spaced out annually over time. These have tax advantages compared to lump-sum payments, so it’s worth considering this option.
If your case is denied, then you do have the option to appeal the decision. You can ask the insurance company to take a second look at the claim or take it to court. In this case, it may be worthwhile to bring a lawyer in to help.
Take Your Work Injury Seriously
A work injury is a big deal, and you need to handle it properly. If you don’t follow the guidelines set out by your company and by law, then you could ruin your chances of getting a good outcome. Follow the steps above to make sure you handle everything on your side of things.
If you’re looking to hire help with your injury case, a good lawyer is where you should start. Head to our legal category to learn the steps to take to hire a great lawyer.
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