Workplace injuries happen all the time. In fact, it’s estimated that a worker gets injured on the job once every seven seconds.
If you find yourself hurt at work, the best thing you can do is initiate a workers’ compensation claim. This helps you cover the cost of your medical treatments and provides you with a portion of your regular paycheck so you can recover without stressing about money.
However, the process of filing a claim isn’t always as cut and dries as you might think. You need to know what to do and when to do it so you can increase your chances of getting compensated fairly.
Here’s what you need to do to streamline the claims process.
Report the Incident Immediately
If you’re injured on the job, the first thing you should do is report the injury to your boss or supervisor as soon as you can. Document as many details about what happened leading up to the incident as you can.
Make a note of any coworkers that witnessed the incident and consider asking them to write down a statement of what happened. These statements can help your employer prove to their workers’ compensation insurance provider that your claim is legitimate.
Once you report the incident, let them know that you want to file a workers’ compensation claim and let them excuse you from work to get the medical treatment you need.
Go to Your Employer’s Preferred Doctor First
Though it’s tempting to just go home after you get injured, doing so can make it hard for you to get the money you need to recover. Ask your supervisor if they have a preferred urgent care facility or doctor that they’d like you to see. If they do, call ahead and let them know that you’re on your way.
If your workplace doesn’t have a preferred doctor, your primary care physician or nearest urgent care center should be able to help you out.
Once you’re at the office, let the doctor know what happened and make sure they understand that it’s a work-related injury. This will make it easier for them to prepare the necessary paperwork and helps streamline your workers’ comp claim.
Pay attention to what the doctor tells you about the injury and their recommended recovery efforts. You’ll need to follow their suggestions closely if you want the claim to be successful.
Keep in mind that if you’re not happy with their diagnosis or feel that they’re treating your injury too lightly, you’re free to get a second opinion.
Request Workers’ Compensation Forms A.S.A.P.
Once you see your doctor, you’ll need to keep your employer up to date on your recovery. Let them know how long you’ll be out of work, what the doctor said, and that you want to submit a workers’ compensation claim.
Most reputable employers have the necessary forms on hand and can fill out their portion of those forms quickly. Once they do, you’ll fill out your portion of the forms and they’ll file the claim for you.
If your employer refuses to provide you with the forms you need, don’t give up. Contact your state’s Department of Labor and let them know what’s going on. They can help you initiate a claim and can negotiate with your employer on your behalf.
Remember, almost all employers are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance in place and must help you file claims if you’re injured. If yours won’t help, you’ll want to report them as soon as you can.
Follow up With Your Employer Often
The workers’ compensation claims process takes time. When you’re not in the workplace and in constant contact with your supervisors, it can be tough to stay updated on the progress.
The best thing you can do is touch base with your employer often. If you have an assigned case representative with the insurance company, you can also contact them to see where your claim is in the process.
The more interest you show, the better and the faster your claim will likely go through. Even better, if they have any questions or need more information from you, you’ll be able to provide it quickly while you follow up.
Consider Consulting an Attorney
Unfortunately for many workers, getting injured in the workplace and filing a workers’ compensation claim isn’t as simple as it should be. Employers can delay filing or make the process overly complicated, so you eventually give up.
Even if your employer helps you file a claim quickly, there’s no guarantee that the insurance company will pay out or pay you what you deserve. Remember it’s in their best interest to deny or reduce your claim whenever they can.
If you find yourself in either situation, the best thing you can do is speak with dedicated workers’ compensation lawyers. Let them know what’s going on and the issues you’re facing. They’ll look at your existing workers’ compensation claim and can negotiate on your behalf with either your employer or the insurance company in question.
Workers’ Compensation Claims Can Be Confusing
No matter how many times you’ve filed a workers’ compensation claim in the past, the process will always be stressful and confusing. The most important thing to remember is that you have the right to file in the first place.
Keep these steps in mind if you ever find yourself having to file a claim. This way, you’ll be able to speed the process up and get the money you need to focus on your recovery.
Once you get back to work, you’ll need to find ways to reduce your risk of future injuries. Check out our latest posts for more tips to help you improve your health and mental wellbeing for the long haul.