A Guide to Maximizing Your Workers’ Compensation Settlement
Business owners are responsible for providing their employees with a safe place to work at. Some create strict policies while others take time to build a workplace that can minimize accidents. The problem is, accidents are sometimes unbeatable. In case you face an accident and suffer injuries from it, the first thing that’ll come to your mind is to seek medical attention and fully recover.
But apart from that, you must know how to file a workers’ compensation claim. In nearly all states, you should report the incident to your employer immediately as there are time limits for notifying them of a work injury. For some states, the deadline can be as short as a few days. And for others, it can be 30 days or so. Find out what you’ll need to do after getting injured at work.
- Seek medical attention
No matter how small or serious your injury is, getting immediate medical care should be your top priority. Waiting for several hours or days before going to a hospital can make your injury worse. It might impact your performance and ability when getting your work done. If your manager or other team members decide to take you to the company nurse or call an ambulance, do not intervene.
Putting a delay in receiving medical attention when you suffer from work-related injury might even provide your insurance company to deny the claim. Plus, your employers might assume that you are not hurt badly so you won’t need any compensation.
- Change your doctor
The doctor that will see the injured worker is usually selected by the insurance company. However, you should also consider the possibility of conflict of interest. The doctor is primarily paid by your insurance agency, so technically, they’re working for them in a way.
The catch here is, your insurance company will not pay you the right amount since their doctor will attend to your medical needs and treat your injuries. If your state permits, always pick your own doctor in case of work-related accidents. Find out that you can trust and can help you in winning your workers’ compensation. The procedures and rules regarding changing doctors vary from state to state so be sure to check yours. In some states, you can only choose from a list of approved physicians.
- Find the claim immediately
After informing your supervisor or manager, proceed with filing the workers’ compensation claim. Just like medical care, securing a fair settlement should be done as soon as possible. It will be harder for you to prove the legitimacy of your case to the insurance company or your employer if you wait.
Most employers have their own workers’ compensation claim form that injured employees need to fill up. They will then share this document with your insurance company. Beware of the deadline for giving notice of work-related injuries. If you miss it, you can lose your rights for getting the benefits under the workers’ compensation settlement.
- Hire a personal injury lawyer
Many workers don’t bother to hire a personal injury lawyer. You might not need one if you can ensure your employers will work in your best interest and your insurance company will pay your claim without hassle. But let’s get real, you cannot always assure that. If you want to ensure that your claim will be filed and processed the right way, hire an experienced personal injury attorney.
Having an attorney on your side will be helpful in case your insurance company denies or reduces your benefits, ignores your requests for information, or makes a settlement offer. Navigating through all these can be daunting. But with a lawyer, you can have peace of mind that your appeal will be represented properly. Plus, you have a bigger chance of maximizing the benefits.
- Keep a record of everything
Lastly, you need to collect all the records related to the workplace accident, your injury, and the claim paperwork too. You should have legitimate copies of documents like an accident report and complete medical records. Photos and videos of the incident would be great as well. Ask your employers about the complete paperwork you should file and keep your own copies of each. Furthermore, record conversations with your supervisor and give them to your lawyer in case you need additional evidence proving your claim.
Filing and processing a workers’ compensation claim can be time-consuming and stressful. The timeline can be shorter or longer depending on several factors such as your state, the type and circumstances of the accident, the extent of injury sustained, and more. Speak with the right lawyer to help you get through all the steps.