Many people think of Workers’ Compensation as a last resort – an insurance policy that they hope to never have to use. The truth is, Workers’ Compensation should be one of your first lines of defense when it comes to protecting yourself and your employees.
Workers’ Compensation can provide critical financial assistance when you are injured or become ill as a result of your job. In addition, Workers’ Compensation can help cover the costs of medical care and rehabilitation related to your injury or illness.
If you are injured or become ill while on the job, it is important to take action right away. You need to report the injury or illness to your supervisor as soon as possible, and you should also seek medical attention right away. It is also important to file your Workers’ Compensation claim as quickly as possible. Here are some tips on how you can maximize your benefits under Workers’ Compensation:
First, Notify Your Employer
It is important that you notify your employer as soon as possible after suffering an injury or illness on the job. If you do this, then you lower the risk of losing your Workers’ Compensation benefits, as this lawyer explains. The injured worker usually notifies the supervisor or human resources representative of their company or organization.
In addition, make sure to follow any instructions from your employer about reporting the injury/illness and try to keep records of these communications in case it is ever disputed at a later date.
Make sure that the conditions of your employment are clearly documented by having an up-to-date job description. This will help establish whether or not there was any negligence involved in causing the illness or injury, and it may provide protection if someone attempts to bring a tort action against you.
Make sure that you have received all recommended vaccinations before starting work. Ensure that everyone receives training about safety precautions, health risks associated with certain positions, proper hygiene practices, and other potentially hazardous activities involved with their positions. The more information employees have about potential problems, the better they will be able to avoid them.
Seek Medical Treatment
You need to seek medical attention as soon as possible after being injured or getting ill. The most important thing is going to be receiving a proper diagnosis of the problem, which will affect how you file a Workers’ Compensation claim and what benefits you can receive from it. If you don’t get immediate care for your injury or illness, then it may become difficult to prove that you were indeed hurt on the job, especially if there are any conflicting medical opinions about what happened.
Also, the sooner that treatment starts for an illness or injury, the greater chance that you have of recovering quickly and fully – this could mean higher benefit amounts.
If your doctor recommends surgery or other procedures related to your injuries/illnesses, make sure you obtain pre-authorization for these procedures or treatments before beginning them. This will help ensure that your benefits are used properly for the treatment you need, and it will also avoid conflicts later on if different providers give you conflicting information about how much your procedures should cost.
Have the names of all doctors involved in your care readily available, along with their contact information. Make sure that your prescriptions are written for generic drugs whenever possible to reduce costs. Keep all receipts related to medical expenses and medications, even if reimbursement was included as part of your Workers’ Compensation package. Medical records may be required at claim review hearings or settlement negotiations, so it is important to have this documentation collected together somewhere easily accessible.
Take Advantage of Your Benefits
When you file a Workers’ Compensation claim, the insurance company will send someone out to talk with you. Be aware of this at all times so that you can give your full attention to these appointments and be prepared for them when they occur. Make sure to take advantage of any vocational or retraining programs offered while recovering from injury or illness. Part of the purpose of these programs is to help injured workers get back to work, so if you don’t take advantage of them then it will delay your recovery and may affect the amounts that are awarded for benefits.
Keep detailed records regarding any claims you make under Workers’ Compensation. This includes filing the first report of injury, completing medical treatment plans, receipts for medications purchased during recovery time away from work, documents showing missed days at work due to illness or injury, reports from doctors, etc.
Additionally, it is important to be as accurate as possible with reporting any lost wages, as it will make a big difference in whether you receive benefits for this loss.
If Your Claim Is Denied
If your claim is denied, make sure you know why. This way, it can be reviewed and possibly appealed to ensure that all benefits received are correct and justified. Common reasons for claims being denied include:
- You waited too long after the work-related injury or illness occurred to file a claim;
- No doctor’s report was filed with the claim;
- You returned to work before you reached maximum medical improvement, arguing that you no longer need benefits;
- The injury or illness wasn’t related to your job;
- Maximum medical improvement was reached while still on the job (in some states this is known as “permanent partial disability”);
- You received some other form of compensation, or because you were involved in a lawsuit that didn’t settle in your favor.
The workers’ compensation process can be complex, but it is important to know that you have options. If your claim has been denied or if there are any issues with the number of benefits being offered, then it may be time for an appeal. There are attorneys who specialize in these types of claims, and they can offer you additional help with your claim or representation during legal proceedings.
Workers’ Compensation is important for keeping both employees and employers safe while at work. By following the above steps, it should be easy to make sure that you get all of the benefits promised to you under this system.