While your rights under the law will vary by jurisdiction, you’ll want to learn your worker’s compensation rights as soon as possible and then you’ll want to follow these 8 tips to ensure you get justice.
Tip 1): Report Your Injury Without Delay
The first and most important thing you’re going to want to do is to report your injury at once, as soon as possible. If you’re going to seek workers’ compensation, you’ll have to report your work-related injuries within a given time period, typically 30 days or fewer.
It’s important to understand that failing to do this up front can cost you later. If you think an injury could result in significant personal harm and could impact your job performance – in short, if you have reason to believe it’s anything other than trivial – report it to your employer as soon as you possibly can.
Tip 2): Document Everything Well
You’re going to want to document not only your injuries, but also the circumstances under which you received them, any photographic evidence, and anything pertaining to your condition and what happened.
It’s a good idea to make a file and keep a journal documenting everything. If things do end up going to trial, you’ll be able to produce a compelling testimony about the effects of your injury over time.
Tip 3): File Everything Correctly
You’re going to need to complete some paperwork to file your claim properly, but so will your employer – and yes, it’s a good idea to check and make sure that your employer does this correctly. In fact, better check twice.
As things go forward with your claim, you’ll want to make sure you get your records from your lawyer. It’s best to have them on hand for your own security.
Tip 4): Medical Attention is a Must
When you’re seeking workman’s comp, you’re going to want to make sure you seek medical attention as quickly as possible and complete whatever treatment the doctor prescribes.
The reason for this is that there’s an insurance company on the other end of this equation, and they’re going to have every reason to try to deny your claim.
The worst possible thing you could do in this situation would be to not seek medical attention as soon as possible, and/or not complete the prescribed treatment. Doing either one of these will send the message that perhaps you aren’t really hurt after all, and that will be precisely what the insurance company will try to claim.
Tip 5): Be Honest and Consistent
Be honest and consistent in your statements about how you were injured and what happened. If you’re honest, you really have nothing to fear, but failing to be honest could cost you big-time.
Have any previous injuries? Mention them: if you fail to do so, there’s a good chance they’ll be discovered anyway and that this will discredit your case.
Also, while you want to be honest and consistent, if the insurance company asks you to give a tape-recorded statement you should refuse to do so. They’re use any excuse to trap you in a gotcha moment.
Tip 6): Know Your Claim’s Worth
Know what your claim is worth and be on guard against lowball offers. You’ll get a lowball offer: insurance companies have every reason to try to fob you off with a figure that will be good for them but not for you.
Try to put a valuation on the effects of your injury, the pain and suffering and the various things you can no longer do. This will help you when you’re negotiating for a good settlement.
Tip 7): Don’t be Deterred by Denial
One research report found that 48% of workers who later received settlements for repetitive strain injuries were denied at first.
This one shouldn’t be a news flash: insurance companies like to use denials as a way to discourage people and limit their liability.
They’re counting on you to be part of some percentage of people who will give up on the first denial, which helps them to keep their costs down. Don’t help them and don’t fall for this.
Tip 8): Talk to a Lawyer
Filing a workers’ compensation claim the right way is a very complex and tricky process, and there are many pitfalls for the unwary, bureaucratic and legal loopholes and technicalities that could scuttle your case.
This is why it’s manifestly in your interest to talk to a workplace compensation lawyer, an expert professional like LaMarca Landry. The right lawyer will fight for you, thwarting the attempts of the insurance company to deny your claim and helping you get justice.