No matter if workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory in your state or offered as voluntary coverage to employees, small business owners need to understand how it works and learn more about workers’ compensation law tips for handling injuries quickly, receiving medical care quickly, and maintaining records.
Workers’ comp claims can be complex. Use these workers’ compensation law tips to get the most from your coverage.
1. Report the Accident
Depending on the nature of your injury in the workplace, workers’ compensation laws dictate that it is your duty to report it immediately to your employer and submit this information directly to their insurer – failing to do so may result in having your claim denied.
State laws vary; in addition, many employers often impose their own internal deadlines that must be met for employees to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Even if the injury seems minor at the time, it is vital that it is reported. Even seemingly minor incidents could become bigger issues later. For instance, symptoms such as carpal tunnel syndrome could develop due to your work injury and must be reported.
Report an injury immediately if medical attention is necessary; timely care can help speed your return to normal faster. Furthermore, having these records serves as supporting evidence should any challenge to your workers’ comp claim arise. If you cannot visit hospital or doctor’s offices yourself, ask your manager to contact a local healthcare facility on your behalf.
2. See a Doctor
Medical attention can be beneficial both to your health and workers’ compensation case. A physician can diagnose your injuries or illness and recommend appropriate treatment, while also creating documentation of them through medical records.
New York law affords you ample control when selecting a doctor for the treatment of injured workers. You have complete freedom in selecting any doctor authorized to treat injured workers; it is important that you find one who takes the time to respond to your queries and address your concerns. If the relationship with your physician doesn’t seem ideal, within 30 days you can request to switch doctors.
At your initial visit with your workers’ compensation doctor, they will ask you to describe in great detail any injuries or illnesses suffered as part of work-related activity. It is vitally important that this description be accurate; any discrepancies could be used by an insurance company as grounds to deny your claim or reduce benefits.
As part of your medical care, it is also essential that you inform your physician of any prior injuries, treatments, or illnesses you have experienced for the body part or system that you are currently being treated for. Failing to do so could constitute lying and lead to issues with workers’ comp benefits.
3. Keep a Record
An injured worker must maintain a clear record of all medical receipts, doctor visits, medication expenses, and treatment plans to help prove the incident is work-related. These documents will show what medical attention has been sought.
Additionally, workers should keep a journal or calendar to record injuries and symptoms related to work. By doing this, they’ll have evidence to back up any formal statements they need to give in court; plus if required to undergo physical or occupational therapy evaluation, be sure to attend every appointment on schedule.
Workers’ compensation is a system in every state designed to cover expenses related to injuries sustained on the job, such as wage loss and medical payments. Each state regulates this program with mandatory employer contributions funding it.
Workers’ compensation programs offer numerous safety advantages for employers and employees alike; however, there can also be downsides. Employees cannot sue their employer for negligence and typically receive less compensation than would otherwise be available through litigation.
An extended workers’ compensation claim can have lasting repercussions for both an employee’s future employment opportunities and economic well-being. To minimize these effects, employers must communicate effectively with their staff; employers should inform all workers immediately upon an accident occurring and seek medical treatment promptly; additionally, they must also answer any inquiries related to workers’ compensation processes quickly and provide answers relating to it as quickly as possible.
4. Contact an Attorney
Most states mandate businesses carry workers’ compensation insurance. This law protects employees injured on the job who are unable to return. Workers’ comp insurance covers medical costs, lost wages, and disability benefits should someone become disabled while at work.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can be invaluable when filing and supporting claims. They will gather evidence such as medical records, expert witness testimonies, and valuations of your losses in order to build a compelling case and prevent insurance companies from undervaluing them.
An employer or the insurance company may try to stall or deny your claims. A workers’ compensation attorney can intervene by filing an appeal or fighting on your behalf in court.
After filing for workers’ compensation benefits, a workers’ compensation attorney can protect you against retaliation by your employer, which could take many forms including cutting your hours, demoting you, harassment, and termination. Furthermore, they will help fight for long-term disability benefits should a permanent or severe injury occur and ensure you get them.
Furthermore, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will ensure your settlement agreement is properly written without any hidden clauses that could cost you over time. Workers are rarely entitled to full payout without legal help – which is why an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer should always be on your side when fighting for maximum payout.