When most people go to their jobs each day, the last thing they expect to happen is being injured. However, for many people, that is exactly what occurs. In these situations where the injuries may be serious, employees choose to file a workers’ compensation claim. Since being seriously injured on the job can result in an extended absence from work, medical bills amounting to thousands of dollars, and perhaps issues requiring counseling or other mental health services, a successful workers’ compensation claim can make all the difference regarding potential financial hardships and other difficulties. However, due to the complexity of workers’ compensation law, these claims can be difficult to win. To increase the odds of winning your claim, here are seven important tips to remember.
File a Quick and Accurate Claim
To have the best chance of winning your workers’ compensation case, fill out your claim as accurately and quickly as possible. While in most states you have as much as two years from the time of the accident to file a claim, the quicker you do so, the better. Otherwise, insurers and your employer may attempt to prove your injuries were not sustained on the job.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, always seek medical treatment immediately after the accident. By doing so, you will have documentation from a physician regarding the extent of your injuries, which can prove crucial in helping you win your workers’ compensation claim. In many cases, symptoms of some injuries may not appear for several hours or days, so having this documentation can prove to be very important regarding the timeline of your workplace injuries.
Obtain Witness Statements
Since memories can fade over time and stories can change as a result, always obtain written statements from anyone who witnessed your accident and injuries. Unfortunately, many of these situations will have employers saying your injuries were sustained due to your own carelessness or negligence. However, if you have statements proving otherwise, your chances of winning your claim increase dramatically.
Follow Doctor’s Orders
Once you have received medical treatment for your injuries, always follow any orders given you by your doctor. If you don’t, you may put your workers’ comp claim at serious risk. For example, if you are told by a doctor to not do any heavy lifting, do not go home and be spotted lifting furniture or other heavy items. In many cases, employers and their insurance investigators may have you under surveillance, so be very wary of doing anything that can be used against you.
Beware of Insurance Companies
Once you file a workers’ compensation claim, you will probably be contacted by your employer’s insurance company to discuss the accident and your injuries. When this happens, be very careful about what you say and do. While the insurance representative will sound as if they are on your side, they are not. Instead, they are looking for anything they can use against you to prove you were negligent on the job. Therefore, say as little as possible, do not sign any papers if speaking with a representative in person, and refer any future communication to your attorney.
Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney
Once you decide to file a workers’ compensation claim, always hire an attorney who specializes in these cases. By doing so, you will have experienced and knowledgeable legal professionals advising you every step of the way. Since many of these claims are initially rejected, having an attorney working for you can allow you to file appeals, have legal representation present at hearings, and gather additional evidence needed to win your case.
Do Not Lie About Your Injuries
If you are injured on the job, do not exaggerate the extent of your injuries or lie about how the accident happened. If you do and are later caught doing so, you will have your workers’ compensation claim dismissed very quickly. Therefore, when speaking with doctors, your employer, insurance companies, and your attorney, always be truthful about what happened, how it happened, and what injuries you received from the accident.