Contact Your Employer or Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Here’s some advice for anyone considering filing a claim for a work injury:
1) Document all the facts of your injury, including when, where, what caused it, and how it has affected you. This includes taking pictures of any visible damage or injuries, keeping medical records, and collecting witness statements from anyone who may have witnessed your injury.
2) It is important to contact your employer or a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. To preserve your legal rights and begin the claims process, you may need to file an incident report with your employer or the insurance company that covers the place of employment.
3) You should also seek legal advice before filing a claim. An experienced lawyer can advise you on your legal rights and help you through the claims process.
As a final note, I suggest not using social media to document your injury or post comments about it. The posts you make can be used against you in a potential legal claim.
Get Medical Help, Report to Your Employer
First, you need to get medical help. Prompt medical treatment may be vital to recovering from your injuries fully. Medical treatment also provides evidence for your claim through the documents describing your injuries.
Second, after any injury in the workplace, you must report the incident to your employer. Every state requires you to report the injury by a specific deadline unique to each state. Not reporting the injury before the deadline can end your case before it begins.
Third, you may need to change doctors. Your employer’s insurance will assign you a doctor under their coverage. This doctor may have a conflict of interest since the insurance company pays them. If any part of your treatment feels inadequate, it is time to seek a second opinion to ensure you get the proper treatment. Speak with your employer’s insurance before changing to avoid any issues.
Finally, if the insurance company denies your claim, makes a settlement offer, or ignores your claim, it may be time to get a workers’ compensation lawyer. Many times if an insurance company knows you do not have a lawyer, they will offer a low settlement since you do not have experience in workers’ compensation claims.
Document, Document, Document
1. An obvious first step is to consult a doctor and get treatment for your injury. From the perspective of filing an injury claim, the key here is the diagnosis. Without a formal diagnosis, you simply won’t be able to make a claim.
2. You’ll want to document not only that the injury occurred at work, but also that it occurred in the course of your normally prescribed duties. In many cases, a claim can be denied if you weren’t on the clock or weren’t technically doing your job when the injury occurred.
3. You should find any documentation you can to ensure that you are following established safety guidelines. If your injury occurred because you or another worker were negligent, because you weren’t using proper safety equipment, or while you were in any way intoxicated, incapacitated, or drugged, they may be able to deny your claim.
Gather Evidence and Consult a Lawyer
1. Medical record – Let yourself be checked and treated first. Obtain medical certification explaining your injury and your treatment. This will be great support for what you are claiming.
2. Witness or evidence – Backing up your case will be helpful in making your claim strong. Consider gathering evidence and securing witnesses for this.
3. Legal Opinion – Seek opinions from professionals about your claim. There are companies that act tough in these situations and tend to deny your right but with the right knowledge, you will be able to defend and fight for them.
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