Tips for Starting a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Every year in the United States, millions of workers sustain injuries while on the job. Below are some steps you can take if you are injured while on the job that may help streamline the process and possibly help your chances of receiving the benefits that you are legally entitled to.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Get medical treatment for your injuries at an emergency room, urgent care or company doctor as soon as you can. Inform the medical provider that you were injured while at work, and explain how you were injured.
- Inform your employer of injuries. As soon as you can, report the accident and your injury to your supervisor. Every state has a time limit for reporting work-related injuries. The sooner you inform your employer about your injuries, the quicker your workers’ compensation benefits can begin.
- File a claim form. Reporting your accident and injury satisfies the requirement to put your employer on notice, but you may have to file a claim form. Doing so is often the official start to a workers’ compensation claim in many states. Usually you can obtain the forms you need from your employer or their insurance company.
- Be consistent with your follow up medical treatment. Be sure to get the necessary follow up treatment for your injuries. State laws dictate who gets to choose the treating doctor you need to see.Depending on the laws in your state, you may be allowed to pick a doctor of your choice, or you may have to obtain your employer’s approval before seeing a specific doctor.
- Comply with acceptable requests from the insurance company. You may be asked to sign a medical release so that the insurance company can obtain your medical records and bills. In most cases, complying with this request ok because they are entitled to see these documents anyway.But, make sure that the release is limited to only pertain to the medical treatment related to your work injury and not anything else.
- Start a daily journal. Sometimes it is a good idea to keep a journal of information relating to your claim. Examples of things to include are: witnesses who saw your accident, your symptoms, activities you are limited in, treatment received, names and dates of doctors you have been treated by, a mileage log for all appointments you attended, and detailed notes from any conversations with the insurance company.
- Stay on top of the insurance company.Once the claim is filed, the insurance company has a specific period of time to investigate and accept or deny the claim. The time limit determined by state law, but generally is between two to four weeks. If are not contacted by the insurance company by the deadline that applies to your state, be sure to follow up.
- Consider consulting with an attorney. If you are having trouble with the insurance company or your claim has been denied, it may be valuable to consult with an attorney that handles workers’ compensation claims to explore your options for pursuing your claim.