10 Workers Compensation Claim Mistakes to Avoid – 2019
Posted in Workplace Accidents on February 1, 2019
The workers’ compensation system is notoriously complex and contains a great deal of room for error if you do not approach your workers’ compensation claim carefully. Our Kansas City personal injury lawyers have compiled ten of the most common mistakes injured employees make when handling workers’ compensation claims. Review the following common mistakes and seek out an attorney if you need assistance with any aspect of a workers’ compensation claim.
1: Failing to Report on Time
The workers’ compensation system requires a timely report. Each state has a time limit for filing for workers’ compensation, sometimes as short as 30 days. If you fail to report your injury within the required window you may lose your chance at securing workers’ compensation benefits and medical expense coverage. Report all workplace injuries immediately to avoid time limit issues with your claim.
2: Missing Paperwork and Filing Requirements
Your workers’ compensation application may require an incident report from work, written statements from anyone at work involved with your injury, and other documentation. You may also need to fill out multiple forms for different types of benefits. We can advise you of your filing requirements in your unique situation.
3: Failing to Choose the Right Doctor
When you file a claim for workers’ compensation insurance, your employer’s insurance policy will cover your medical expenses. However, you must visit one of the medical providers on the insurance carrier’s approved list for your area. Most states let you choose a second doctor if you do not feel as though the first choice offered appropriate treatment. You can seek emergency treatment from any available doctor in a life-threatening situation, but you must move to a doctor on the insurance carrier’s approved list once the emergency stabilizes.
4: Failing to Follow Doctors’ Orders
If you sustain a workplace injury and your attending physician prescribes a specific type of treatment, there is an expectation for you to follow your doctor’s orders. For example, if you suffered a fall and broke your leg, your doctor will likely warn you against spending too much time upright. If you ignore this advice and exacerbate your injury by failing to follow your doctor’s orders, you could endanger your claim.
5: Falsifying Information
Never lie or misrepresent the facts about your workplace injury to try and secure additional compensation. Even if you believe “adjusting” a minor detail would be to your benefit, doing so constitutes fraud. You may not only lose your chance of securing benefits but also face criminal prosecution.
6: Failing to Secure a Second Opinion
Your attending physician’s diagnosis has a tremendous bearing on your claim settlement and future benefits. If you disagree with the opinion of a doctor from your employer’s insurance carrier’s list, you can visit your own doctor for a second opinion. This second opinion may come into play in your favor in a later appeal or hearing about your claim.
7: Refusing Alternative Work
Your employer may offer you work in a different position until you recover from your injuries, or in the event, your injuries completely prevent you from returning to your previous job. If this option is available, it is always in your best interest to take it, and if your doctor clears you to return to work you should do so. Refusing to work may lead to a stoppage of your benefits.
8: Resuming Work Too Soon
Just because you feel fit to work does not mean you actually are; if your doctor recommended rest and refraining from work for a specified time, follow these orders. If you were to resume work and worsen your injury or sustain a new one, it will dramatically complicate the status of your workers’ compensation claim.
9: Accepting a Claim Too Soon
It is vital to know all of the options available to you from your workers’ compensation claim. For example, you may have the right to vocational training or occupational rehabilitation, but your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance carrier may fail to notify you of this right. Fully investigate your benefits options with the help of an attorney.
10: Accepting the Wrong Disability Rating
The disability rating you receive from your attending workers’ compensation doctor greatly influences the number of benefits you receive. Once you reach maximum medical improvement, your attending doctor will assign a disability rating. Too low of a rating means you will receive less than you actually deserve. A workers’ compensation attorney can help clear up these types of issues.
Ultimately, the workers’ compensation system is much easier to navigate with the assistance of an attorney. These are just the ten most common things that can go wrong with a workers’ compensation claim, but there are many more, and each individual claim has unique variables in play. Consult with a Kansas City attorney as soon as possible after a workplace injury for the best results.