1. Delayed Reporting of Workers Compensation Accidents
Always report an accident promptly, even if you don’t think you were hurt. Probably the most common reason workers compensation benefits are delayed or denied is due to delayed reporting of the accident. You may have an accident late in the shift, not think you are hurt and go home; needing care the next day. If the accident was not witnessed, the employer and its insurance company will be suspicious of any workers compensation claim not reported for at least a day or more after it occurs. To avoid this problem, any time you have an accident, report it immediately after the accident occurs. Do not wait until your next shift to report the accident. Even if you do not think you need to be seen by a doctor at a minimum, go on record reporting the record, so if you do need to see a doctor later on your treatment will not be delayed. If a supervisor is not available, report the workers compensation accident in writing ASAP. If this is not an option, then make sure a co-employee is aware of the accident so this person can back you up if the accident is questioned.
2. Unexplained Workers Compensation Accidents.
All workers compensation accidents happen for a reason. That reason may not be readily apparent when the accident happens, but if you fill out a written accident report or give a recorded statement indicating that you do not know why you fell at work, your claim will be denied. The law requires you to show a connection between your work and your workers compensation injury. Just because workers compensation injury takes place during work hours is not sufficient. For example, if you were rushing, and that caused you to fall, or you were carrying something, lose balance and fall, that will satisfy the requirement of a work connection. Before giving a recorded statement, or filling out an accident report, think about why the workers compensation accident took place and make sure you have a reason why the accident took place.
3. Never Assume That Your Employer Does Not Have Restricted Duty Available.
In workers compensation claims doctors will frequently not take you off work, but will give you work restrictions. If those restrictions will prevent you from performing your normal work duties do not assume that your employer does not have alternate work for you to do within your restrictions. Whenever your doctor gives you work restrictions or changes your restrictions, make sure you notify your employer of the restrictions and ask if the employer has any work for you to do within those restrictions. Frequently, employers have programs offering light duty jobs to workers who were injured on the job. If you do not ask your employer about the availability of this type of work, you may find that if you stay home that you will not get workers compensation benefits for the time you stayed home.
4. Never Miss Doctor or Therapy Appointments.
Workers compensation insurance companies are always looking for reasons to cut off your benefits. One of the most common reasons used to suspend or terminate benefits is missing or showing up late for doctor or therapy appointments. Insurance companies view missing appointments as non-compliance with your treatment plan which justifies suspending your benefits. For example, if your car breaks down, it is always cheaper to take a cab or bus than it is to lose 3 or 4 weeks of wage loss benefits during the time it takes to get your appointment rescheduled. If you MUST miss an appointment, always call the doctor’s office as soon as you know that you cannot make the appointment and try to reschedule as soon as possible. This will lessen the likelihood that your workers compensation benefits will be suspended or cut-off.