Depending on the state that you live and work in, you will have different steps that you have to take, sometimes mandatory, in order to file a workers’ compensation claim. Even if these steps are not required, they are still good guidelines to follow, so you know you will have all your bases covered. Here are five actions that you should take to file for compensation:
Tell Your Employer About the Injury
This should be done as soon as you can after the accident that causes your injury occurs. Some states require at least 30 days notice from the first sign of distress, or benefits may be denied. Time can pass faster than you expect, so regardless of your state’s laws, it is best to do this right away to reduce any future risks.
Complete an Injury Report
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, as it is known colloquially, requires all companies to carry workplace injury reports and have them readily available in the event that one is needed. Simply fill the report out at the time that you are injured, after you have been reasonably treated, of course, and keep a copy for your personal records. Make sure that you have been evaluated by a doctor so that you can report on what kinds of future treatments you may require as well.
Remember, some smaller or stingier employers may try to convince you that this is an unnecessary step, but it can make or break a case, and it is a crucial part of workers compensation law.
Be Seen By a Doctor
No matter how minor you may believe that your injury is after the initial incident, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical treatment. This will ensure that proper medical care has been given. Also, you will have physical records to prove that you were hurt if the employer’s insurance company attempts to deny the claim, or if it argues that your pain or incapacity is not in any way work-related. Additionally, as previously mentioned, you’ll want to know about any potential future treatments that you may need as a result of the injury.
File Your Workers’ Comp Claim
Now that you have all your paperwork submitted and you have a medical record to verify your injury, it is time to file for workers’ comp with your domicile state. Try to do this as soon as you possibly can because some states have statutes of limitations on the amount of time that is allowed to pass between the injury and the filing. Also be sure to submit any relevant medical records that you have about the injury, even if it seems small. Once you file your claim, retain a lawyer, because it may get difficult, and you will need expert guidance.
In conclusion, filing a workers’ comp claim is not that difficult, but there is a lot of ground to cover to ensure everything goes off without a hitch. It is always best to speak with a trusted, respected attorney for assistance.