5 Ways To Ruin Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
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A worker can file a claim for compensation benefits if he/she was injured on the job or developed an illness related to the work. Though workers’ compensation can pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation, the insurance companies will try to pay you as little as possible. In fact, insurance companies hire private detectives and medical experts to determine whether or not your injuries are, indeed, work-related. They will leave no stone unturned to minimize or even turn down your claim. So, without thorough preparation and reliable legal help, you are more likely to make the rookie mistakes that will ruin your claim.
Read on to learn about the five most common mistakes that will ruin your workers’ compensation claim.
Failing to Report Your Injuries
You must report your injuries to your employer as early as possible. Don’t let the outward appearance of your injuries fool you into not reporting them. You can either follow the guidelines set out in the employee’s manual or simply let every concerned person know about your accident. Describe the extent of your injuries in detail and let them know of how you were injured, and put it all in writing.
The time limit for reporting the injuries to your employer and filing a legal claim may differ from state to state. In general, however, you are required to report the accident to your employer within 30 days. But, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, for an occupational illness claim, the time limit is usually calculated from the date your doctor first diagnoses you with the illness. Regardless of the state and local laws, the earlier you notify your employer of your injuries, the better it will be.
Failure to Give Accurate Account of Your Injuries
The importance of giving an accurate and detailed account of your injuries to the doctor can’t be stressed enough. Whether it is intentional or unintentional, failure to describe fully and accurately how the injury occurred and which body parts were injured can lead to an inaccurate medical record. The doctors are also likely to note the term “malingerer” in your medical records if they believe you are embellishing your injuries.
Unfortunately, changing a medical record at a later date is almost impossible. Therefore, you must provide the most accurate account of your injuries to the concerned physicians. Plus, you also need to make sure the attending physician has correctly recorded your account. Don’t be coerced into signing inaccurately filled forms and/or applications.
Failure to Comply with Treatment Plan
In some cases, there are no visible symptoms following the accident, which may prompt people to discontinue the medical treatment. However, if you fail to attend follow-up appointments or do not adhere to doctor’s instructions, you may lose your benefits. Besides, if you discontinue the treatment without consulting the doctor, the symptoms may worsen, eventually leading to medical complications.
Though in most states, the insurance companies appoint a physician for the medical treatment of a worker, you are entitled to a second opinion from a doctor of your choice. If you feel returning to work on the date recommended by the primary doctor causes pain or discomfort or you are not satisfied with the treatment, you can consult a secondary physician. You are also entitled to follow the treatment and follow-up tests recommended by the secondary physician.
Bragging on Social Media
If you are injured on the job and have filed workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company will investigate your claim to make sure you are not exaggerating your injuries. One of the easiest ways to check into your claim is to look at your social media accounts for potential evidence that can weaken your claim.
Posting pictures showing yourself engaged in physical activities such as dancing at a party or driving a car when suffering unbearable pain will allow the insurer to accuse you of exaggerating your injuries. On the other hand, bragging about how much money you can get from your claim will certainly make the defense question your motive for filing the claim.
As it happens, appearances are everything on social media. So, the defense can misinterpret even a seemingly harmless post and use it against you. It is, therefore, better to stay away from social media during the claim process.
Not Retaining the Right Legal Representation
Hiring the right attorney is the most critical factor in determining the outcome of your settlement. Insurance companies often have a team of lawyers, medical experts, private investigators, and insurance adjusters, and their only job is to pay you as little as they can. This doesn’t mean the insurer will intentionally deny your claim. However, hiring the right attorney can certainly increase your chances of receiving a deserving compensation.
Besides, navigating through the complex legal system without the right lawyer on your side is almost impossible. Whether it is a workers’ compensation attorney in Chicago or a lawyer from another part of the country you are looking for, make sure to hire one with a proven track record of winning various types of workplace injury claims.
Workers compensation offers medical benefits and wage replacements to those who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses. However, the process of recovering compensation is easier said than done. Even the smallest mistake can ruin your chances of getting the benefits you deserve. Though serious, these mistakes are avoidable. The above five tips will help you avoid the most common mistakes that can ruin your workers’ compensation claim.
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