Whether you just got injured at work and are not sure how to go about filing a workers’ compensation claim or just want to be proactive, learning how to navigate the process is crucial for ensuring you get promptly and appropriately reimbursed for a portion of the income you lose while you are unable to work.
The 10 tips we’ve provided below will help you make sure you get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve.
Tip #1 Inform your employer about your injury immediately.
This allows your employer to begin the necessary workers’ compensation documentation required by the workplace insurance company and by state and federal law. Plus, you and your doctor are responsible for meeting certain state and federal deadlines. Failure to meet the deadline might cause you to lose your right to claim your workers’ comp benefits.
Tip#2 Don’t delay seeking medical treatment.
With or without symptoms, you should see a doctor right away. There are injuries that only produce symptoms days or weeks following the accident. Seeking prompt medical treatment allows for a quick recovery and return to work.
Also, if you delay seeking medical treatment, your company’s insurance provider could leverage that to argue that you were never injured in the first place or that you weren’t as seriously injured as you claimed to be.
Tip #3 Be truthful in reporting the circumstances surrounding your injury.
Do your best to provide accurate information about when and how the injury occurred and what symptoms you are experiencing. Never exaggerate or add information not pertinent to your immediate situation.
Tip #4 Be aware that insurance companies often obtain surveillance of injured workers.
This is often the case, especially if the insurance provider doubts the credibility of the worker: they will hire someone to follow you around and possibly videotape your daily activities. They will likely use the information to argue that you’re lying about your injury.
Tip #5 Avoid social media postings and other potential gossip-generating situations.
Your workers’ comp claim is your business and no one else’s. Loose chatter about your injury and the workplace environment can wind up hurting you in your workers’ comp claim. Your company and their insurance provider may also be looking at your social media account/s to further verify the validity of your injury. The last thing you want is for your posts to be misconstrued.
To be on the safe side, limit your social media use throughout the claim process and avoid posting anything about your injury.
Tip #6 Keep your own records.
Take note when you told your supervisor, sought treatment, and how many hours/days you have or will take time off work. Ask your employer for a copy of your comp claim.
Tip #7 Follow your doctor’s and therapist’s advice.
These professionals are the experts on how your condition or injury affects your overall health and ability to work effectively and safely. Adhere to your care plan and return-to-work program as recommended.
Tip#8 Know and understand your workers’ comp benefits.
Rules for eligibility and amounts essentially vary from state to state, but the following benefits are generally available:
- Medical treatment
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Temporary disability benefits
- Permanent disability benefits
It’s important to take the initiative to understand these—and not rely on the insurance adjuster to relay and explain your state’s benefit system. It’s also equally essential to know what you should and should not say when talking to the adjuster, as they might find a way to poke holes in your story to reduce the value of your claim or throw it out altogether.
Tip #9 If you get denied, file an appeal.
It is worth keeping in mind that insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and thus, they often deny even legitimate claims in an attempt to save money. Assert your right and appeal the denial. Many workers who filed an appeal ended up getting their benefits.
Tip #10 Consider getting a workers’ comp lawyer.
Although it is not always necessary to do so, you might need one if the insurance company doesn’t voluntarily pay your claim, such as when they deny or reduce your benefits, ignore your claim, or make a settlement offer.
Having a lawyer is beneficial, as they can negotiate with the insurance company and represent you appropriately.
Workers’ Comp Services in Grand Junction, CO
At WorkPartners Occupational Health, our three physicians—Drs. Fay, Gustafson, and Marbas—are Level II-accredited physicians for the state of Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation. They know the intricacies of the system and will guide you every step of the way to ensure a seamless experience both in your recovery and the claim process.
To request an appointment with one of our physicians, please contact us at (970) 241-5585, or use our secure form.