Suffering a workplace injury can be traumatizing. You may feel unsafe in your workplace and unsure of when you can return to work. Workers’ compensation can help. Unfortunately, the process of filing a claim can be full of bureaucratic obstacles to overcome. You may feel lost and overwhelmed, especially if you do not have a comprehensive understanding of the law. Working with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is the best way you can ensure you receive the maximum benefits you deserve. You may inadvertently sabotage your workers’ compensation claim while working on your own. In this blog post, we will give a brief overview of the easiest ways to fast-track your workers’ compensation claim.
It is not uncommon for injured workers to “wait out” their injuries. They may doubt the true extent of their injuries, or they may feel uncomfortable about bringing a workplace accident to a supervisor’s attention. However, this can be a huge mistake. Failing to report your injury immediately may be seen as a red flag when you do choose to file a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer’s insurance company may argue that you failed to report your accident because you are faking or exaggerating your injuries. Plus, it is exponentially harder to collect workers’ compensation benefits when you do not have a report of your injury on file. Report any workplace accident (no matter how small) you have to the proper authorities immediately, and be detailed about the circumstances in which it occurred.
Different states have different laws regarding whether or not injured workers can choose their own physicians. If you have to see a doctor of your employer’s choosing, you must undergo a physical exam to determine your eligibility for workers’ compensation coverage. If you can choose your doctor, you must still make sure that the physician is qualified to diagnose your injury. You may need to find a specialist experienced in working with your type of injury. Your recovery will lie directly in your doctor’s hands, so make sure you choose someone qualified. Remember that your physician will determine when you will return to work, what restrictions you will have, and whether or not you have a permanent disability. All of this will influence the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you will receive. A workers’ compensation attorney may be able to put you in contact with a competent physician.
Your doctor may place restrictions on the type of work you can and cannot do. If your employer can accommodate these instructions, then you should go to work even if it feels uncomfortable. Failure to follow your doctor’s orders may disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. If you are determined to be fit to work and do not show up to work, then you may even lose your job. Of course, you should contact your doctor if you feel too much pain to execute your work duties even with restrictions. The two of you may then work out a different treatment path for your recovery.
Many injured workers do not realize that they have the right to a second opinion if they disagree with their initial diagnosis. You may even be able to change doctors if you disagree with your authorized physician’s recommendations. In the state of Colorado, for instance, you may change doctors once if you are still within 90 days of the injury and have yet to reach maximum medical improvement. However, you will only be able to switch to another provider on your employer’s designated list. You will need the insurance company’s approval to choose a physician off the list. You are not guaranteed approval for these requests, but you should expect a response within 20 days. If you do not receive a response within 20 days, then you may assume that you are free to see the doctor of your choosing. Still, you should stay with your initial doctor and continue that treatment path until you receive formal approval. Otherwise, you will run the risk of sabotaging your workers’ compensation claim.
Be as detailed as possible when discussing your workplace accident. Remember that there is no point in downplaying your injuries. Your physician will only know how to put you on the proper treatment path if you are honest about your injuries. Plus, downplaying your injuries may lead to a denied workers’ compensation claim. Give as comprehensive an account as possible. Let them know how the accident happened, any potentially relevant pre-existing conditions that may be aggravated by the new injury, and the level of pain you are feeling. Being forthcoming with your doctor is the only way to ensure you are on the path to recovery and receiving the full workers’ compensation benefits you are due.
Taking care of a workplace injury can be overwhelming, especially if it happened as a result of someone else’s negligence. You have to figure out how to take care of your medical expenses, get back to work, and pull your life back together. The whole process can leave you feeling spent and confused.
There are many options available to you in the case of a workplace accident. Workers’ compensation is just one of them. You need someone you can trust in your corner to plan the best course of action for you. We at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Our capable workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers treat every case and every client with the personalized care and attention they deserve.
Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. We believe you should never have to pay for somebody else’s mistakes. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our trusted nationwide workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve.