Getting injured on the job can be a very scary and stressful situation. While it can be difficult to acknowledge and admit that you have been hurt, it is essential to follow the proper steps of reporting and treating injuries obtained while on the job. If you have suffered an injury, you may be eligible for workman’s compensation and other benefits. However, it is easy to lose these benefits if you don’t follow the proper procedure.
Report the Injury Immediately
It is important to report the injury to your immediate supervisor as quickly as possible. Some states require the report to be in writing, so it isn’t a bad idea to immediately write down what happened and include that with your verbal report. Some states have a very short window of time where you can file a claim (this is called the statute of limitations.) Therefore, it is best practice to immediately report all injuries in writing, in order to ensure that you don’t lose potential benefits.
Seeing a Doctor
While some states allow you to see a doctor of your choosing, provided that you have submitted the proper paperwork before being injured, most states require you to see a doctor that has been selected by the company. For the first thirty days you have to go through this doctor, after this period you are able to see a doctor of your choosing.
This doctor will submit the information to support any potential workman’s compensation claims, and this could be the end of the process. However, the company may ask that the worker see another doctor to receive a second opinion.
Fight a Workman’s Compensation Claim
Filing a workman’s compensation claim is not like suing your employer; it is simply a request for benefits like any other insurance form. The first step to filing a claim is to notify your employer. No matter how an employer learns of an incident, they are required to offer you a claim for immediately. They should then provide a claim form immediately, if not, the forms are available on your state Worker’s Compensation Office website. Until this form has been submitted, your employer has no obligation to provide any benefits. Therefore, it is imperative to file this form as quickly as possible.
You only need to fill out the employee section of the form, and the employer will complete their section of the form. It is required that you sign and date the form as well The form can be delivered in person or sent by mail. If you decide to mail the form, be sure to sent it via certified mail so you have a record that they received the claim! Shady businesses might try to claim that they “lost” the form, but sending the form via certified mail ensures that there is a written record of delivery. Also, be sure to keep a copy of the claim for your personal records.
The employer will then complete their section of the form and sent it to the local Worker’s Compensation office for completion. You should make sure to request a copy of the completed form from your employer if you do not receive one. In general, you should receive a written notice about your application within fourteen days of submission.
Do I need a lawyer?
Generally speaking, it isn’t required to have a lawyer for a simple claim. If your case is more complex, or you need to appeal or appear in court, then it is strongly advisable to hire a worker’s compensation lawyer to assist you. Our Workers Compensation Representation in on a contingency basis, so you won’t have to pay anything if you lose your case.
Can I appeal the decision?
There is an appeals process for claimants that are not granted benefits. If you are dissatisfied with the results of your claim, you can file an appeal with the Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs (OWCP). During this process, additional evidence can be submitted to support your claim. Additionally, you can file an appeal with the Employee Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB). This board only rules on the evidence associated with the original claim. Their decision is final and cannot be appealed after the decision is made.