I Suffered an Injury at Work. What Should I Know?
Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, although there are some exceptions. To be covered, the employee must be accidentally injured while doing his/her job, or become sick as a result of doing the job. Just because an injury happens on the job doesn’t automatically make it a workers’ comp claim. For example, if you slice your finger cutting a tomato at lunch, you’re probably not covered. If you slice your finger on a construction site while using a saw, you’re probably covered.
If you are injured or become sick as a result of your job, here are some things you should know:
- Report every injury or illness to the HR department or supervisor when it happens. If you cut yourself, don’t report it immediately, and it later becomes infected, you may complicate your claim because there’s no record of the injury. You should be asked to complete paperwork about the injury. Complete it in a timely manner and follow up if necessary.
- Ensure that your medical provider knows that it was an on-the-job injury. Most emergency rooms, clinics, and doctor’s offices will have space on the admission forms to indicate that it’s a workplace injury or sickness. Double check to make sure that the facility you choose handles workers’ comp claims, and that your employer approved the choice of medical provider, if there’s time to make this inquiry.
- Document the injury in your medical records. Detail as much information as possible, including dates, affected areas, limitations, and how the injury happened.
- Be honest. Fabricating details can lead to questions of the entire claim’s legitimacy, and insurance companies hire investigators to thoroughly examine all claims.
When should an experienced attorney help in a workers’ comp case?
- If your case requires surgery. An attorney can help determine the fair reimbursement value when surgery, and the necessary recovery time, is required.
- If your injury impacts your future job performance. Sometimes even small injuries render employees unable to return to the same jobs, and attorneys are needed to fight for fair settlements.
- If your injury prevents you from working at all. Insurance companies will spend as much money as possible to avoid paying your salary for the rest of your life. They will fight using the best investigators and experts, and only the best attorneys should enter the fight against these insurance companies.
- If you had pre-existing problems in the same part of the body, or if you had pre-existing disabilities. Pre-existing conditions can complicate claims, and attorneys can help in these instances.
- Other issues: your case is denied, you believe you’re being shortchanged, your doctor releases you to work before you feel ready, you need more medical treatment, etc. In any of these instances, workers’ compensation is not a straightforward matter and your case can benefit from an experienced attorney.
How We Can Help
Contact me to discuss your options if you have sustained an injury or become sick as a result of your job.