Things You Should and Should Not Do with Workers’ Compensation
One of the best benefits most employees have access to is workers’ compensation. This insurance program ensures that workers get benefits to pay for medical costs and make up for lost wages if they are injured or become ill as a result of work-related duties. Because of the importance of workers’ comp benefits in such a situation, employees should know what they should and should not do so that their claim is approved if they ever have to file one.
Regardless of the circumstances of your case, if you have been denied workers’ comp or want assistance to file a claim, the right thing to do is consult a workers’ comp attorney.
What is Workers’ Comp?
Although most workers have heard of workers’ compensation, they are not entirely sure about what it is or how it works. So what exactly is workers’ compensation and are you eligible for it?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program designed to provide cash benefits and medical care for employees who are injured or become ill because of their work duties. Workers’ compensation is beneficial to both employees and employers. However, employees give up their right to sue, meaning that the employer is protected from lawsuits that might otherwise cost a crippling fortune.
Most employers in most states have the obligation to pay for workers’ comp and cannot ask or force employees to contribute to that payment. Although the cost to the business is taken into account when salaries or hourly wages are specified for employees.
If a workers’ comp claim is approved, the benefits are paid by the employers’ insurance company. This process is overseen by the Workers’ Compensation Board.
If your claim for workers’ compensation benefits was denied without justification, an experienced attorney can fight for your rights and get you the benefits you deserve depending on the facts of your case.
Qualifying for Workers’ Comp
Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” insurance program, meaning that neither the employee nor the employer is at fault when someone gets hurt on the job. However, there are many reasons for workers’ comp claims to be legitimately denied such as when employees are intoxicated on the job or get involved in horseplay or fights that lead to injuries. That being said, a lot of claims are turned down for unfounded reasons as well.
It is good to know that there is an insurance program in place in case you are ever seriously hurt at work, but do you qualify for it?
The two main requirements for workers’ compensation are that you must be an employee (not a contractor) and that the injury happened at work. Workers who meet these two requirements still should know about some Dos and Don’ts when it comes to workers’ compensation.
What You Should and Should not Do
Most accidents at work do not result in serious injuries and workers do not always have to take a significant amount of time off from work to recuperate. When injuries are minor and the cost to the employer’s insurer is low, claims tend to be approved without much fuzz. But when injuries are severe and the insurer stands to lose a huge sum of money, things can get complicated and claims are often denied. Because of this, it is important to know as much about workers’ comp and the things you should and should not do.
Things You Should Do
- Report your Injury Immediately
You might think this is a “no-brainer”, but injured workers do not always do this and it can cause big headaches later on. A lot of employees who get hurt while performing job duties think that the injury is too minor to report only to realize later on that it is more serious than they thought. Reporting your injury much later than it actually happened can make the insurer suspect fraud and lead to your claim being denied.
- Identify Witnesses
If neither your employer nor the insurance company wants to acknowledge that your injury happened at work, witnesses can help your case tremendously. Identify any witnesses who were present so that your attorney can get statements from them.
- Take Photographs
Often, accidents at work are caused because of hazardous conditions or defective equipment. If you can, use your phone to take pictures of the area or equipment to use as supporting evidence in your case.
- Provide Accurate Information
When you report your injury or illness, be sure to provide all the details as accurately as possible. Inaccurate information is something else that can cause the insurer to suspect fraud. For example, if you say that the incident occurred before your lunch break, but camera footage shows that this is not the case, it can lead to problems and your workers’ comp claim being denied.
- Contact an Attorney
When employers or insurance companies put up obstacles, getting workers’ comp benefits can get very complicated. An attorney with experience in this field will be able to guide you through the process and get you the benefits that are legally yours depending on the facts of your case.
Things You Should not Do
- Do not Delay
Do not delay reporting your incident to the HR department, supervisor, or the owner of the business. Such delays almost always end up with claims being turned down by insurance companies.
- Do not Report Your Injury as non-work Related
If your injury happened at work or outside of it during working hours and while performing job duties, do not report it as non-work related. Some employees do this fearing that their employer will retaliate in some way. But doing this means that getting workers’ comp benefits will be impossible or nearly so.
- Do not Provide Statements to the Insurer
The insurer does not have your best interest in mind. Insurance companies go out of their way to avoid paying as much as possible to injured workers. Do not provide them with any statements or sign any documents. You should consult a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible instead.
Reach Out ASAP
If you are experiencing any issues with workers’ compensation benefits or your claim has been denied, we can examine your case thoroughly and advise you about what can be done. The first step is to reach out to us as soon as possible.
Reach out to us at the Law Office of Robert E Frawley by calling (617) 523-2929.