American workers by the millions are injured or killed on the job yearly. Fortunately, most of them have workers’ compensation insurance coverage to help them navigate their unfortunate circumstances. Workers’ compensation insurance typically pays for part of an injured worker’s wages and the cost of their medical treatment.
Most employers are required by state law to maintain workers’ comp insurance coverage for occupational illnesses and on-the-job injuries. Workers’ comp is designed as a no-fault system to provide benefits to workers while protecting employers from costly lawsuits.
The compensation process is often streamlined to avoid the need to use the court system and prove fault. The trade-off for an injured worker is that he or she gives up the right to sue their employer and hold them accountable for the illness or injury. Additionally, the employee won’t receive the full amount of their wages lost while unable to work, and can’t be compensated for their pain and suffering.
If you’re a worker who’s been injured on-the-job, you deserve the maximum amount of monetary compensation possible. Sadly, many pitfalls are present in workers’ comp claims. These need to be accounted for and avoided. Follow these ten tips to maximize your workers’ compensation claim:
- Seek immediate medical care
- Notify your employer of the injury
- File your workers’ comp claim quickly
- Select or change to the appropriate doctor
- Be specific and consistent about injuries, symptoms, and details
- Give only limited medical authorizations
- Remember that your actions and activities are being watched
- Be prepared to submit to an independent medical examination (IME)
- Be wary of providing recorded statements
- Keep track of everything
Your main concern after a workplace injury should be your own health and well-being. Always seek medical treatment and notify your employer as soon as possible after an injury.
Getting the Compensation You Deserve
Some workers’ compensation claims can be handled easily, particularly if your workplace injury only keeps you from working for a few weeks or months, and you have a full recovery. In such a circumstance, the insurance company will likely pay your worker’s comp claim, and it will be resolved.
However, it’s a different story with severe work-related illnesses and injuries. Workers who suffer permanent or disabling injuries may be entitled to high-dollar workers’ comp settlements.
Insurance companies have dedicated personnel trained to avoid paying out significant sums of money to injured workers. In this situation, hiring a workers’ compensation attorney is well-advised. Employees who are seriously injured, especially those who are older or have pre-existing conditions, will likely need the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, as well, to help maximize the financial compensation they receive.
Indeed, in these examples, there is much to lose. Battling the insurance company alone is inadvisable. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the claim process, help to protect your rights, and provide options for pursuing compensation outside the workers’ compensation system. Schedule a consultation with a Fort Pierce workers’ compensation lawyer to find out what an attorney can do for you.
Thanks to the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for their insight into workers compensation and how to protect your rights.