Workers compensation laws are in place to protect you as an employee. In most states, workers compensation insurance is mandatory for business owners. An approved workers compensation claim will pay for your medical expenses and lost time at work in the event that you are injured or disabled on the job. In the event that the employee is killed as a result of the injury, family members are generally eligible to receive benefits as well.
Stage One: Filing a Claim
If you have been the victim of an accident on the job resulting in injury, the first step is to file a workers compensation claim. Your employer can provide you with the proper forms to initiate this process. Some employees are concerned about taking official action towards a workers compensation claim, fearing that it may negatively affect their relationship with the employer. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who discussed making claims or actually make claims. You have the right to file a workers compensation claim if you have been injured as a result of your job duties.
Stage Two: Getting Evaluated
Your employer will send you to a physician to be evaluated for your injuries. If you feel that this doctor did not adequately review your case or diagnosed you, you need to set up an appointment with a workers compensation attorney immediately. The initial physician evaluation can have a significant impact on whether your workers compensation claim is approved or denied. The negative impacts of a poorer physical evaluation can be detrimental: the physician may even recommend that you return to work before you are able. Some doctors benefit financially from continued business sent their way from employers. Although it is their duty to do no harm, some physicians may not want to approve disability and have those patients sent elsewhere when the employer gets frustrated at too many approval claims.
Another common tactic involves the employer sending the employee back to work at a different position, which is later eliminated. When a new position is eliminated, the employee is no longer eligible for Worker’s Compensation benefits. If your employer is trying to take advantage of you, they are counting on your lack of knowledge about the law. Educating yourself about your rights is critical when engaging with a workers compensation claim process.
Stage Three: Getting the Help You Need
It can be difficult enough to recover from your injuries and return to work, but having your claim denied can significantly complicate your life. A lawyer is the only person who can help you navigate the waters of a workers compensation claim successfully. The insurance company and your employer likely have more experience dealing with workers comp than you, so rely on the experience of your attorney to advocate for your best interests in court. Don’t wait too long to hire a workers’ compensation attorney, since this could be the turning point in your case, getting you the benefits you deserve.
About the Author:
Andrew Miller is an Avid legal blogger, traveler and passionate law student. Twitter @amillerblog