Avoiding Common Workers’ Compensation Claim Mistakes
The Workers’ Compensation claim process can be a complex one, particularly if you are trying to file your case without the help of a qualified Workers’ Comp attorney. There are several mistakes an individual can make after they are injured on the job which could cause their claim to be denied. However, some Workers’ Compensation claim mistakes are entirely avoidable so long as you know what they are.
Perhaps the most vital thing you can do after being injured at work is to report the injury to your employer promptly. In general, the law requires that an injured worker notify their employer of the injury in writing within 30 days of the accident. While there are some exceptions to this rule if need be, you should make every effort to notify your employer, preferably in writing, within the 30 day time frame as outlined by the law. You should also take note of any policies your employer has in place for reporting injuries. If such a policy exists, it is also very important for you to follow those instructions.
After you promptly report your injury, it is imperative that you seek medical treatment as quickly as possible. Not only should you seek medical treatment for your injury, you should give your medical provider as detailed and as accurate a history as possible as to how you were injured. It is important to tell your doctor not only how you were hurt, but inform him or her of all of your injuries and complaints. You not only want to be as clear and as detailed as possible with your doctor, but also as consistent as possible. It is very important that you are consistent in your history of injury to both your employer and your doctors on each visit so that there are no discrepancies that the insurance company’s claims adjuster or subsequent medical expert can possibly use against you.
While there is a general two year statute of limitations to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, it is very important that you file your case with the Workers’ Compensation Board as quickly as possible in order to protect your rights. This entails filing form C-3 as soon as possible after your injury. There may be different filing requirements if your injury or illness resulted over a period of time rather than a single incident or accident. Therefore it is important to get legal advice as quickly as possible so that you are protected for statute of limitations purposes.
If your injury causes you to be out of work and you are receiving monetary benefits from the Workers’ Compensation carrier, it is very important that you see your physician on a regular basis so that you have up to date medical evidence of your disability. Generally, you must see your doctor at least once every 90 days to update your disability status. Should you miss medical appointments or fail to comply with the treatment recommendations of your doctor, you run the risk of your benefits being terminated.
If at some point your doctor returns you to work with restrictions, it is very important to notify your employer. If restricted or “light duty” work is unavailable to you, you are still likely to be entitled to partial disability benefits through the compensation carrier. However, there may be other obligations which require you to look for alternative work at another employer. Therefore it may be advisable that you consult an attorney for a confidential consultation in these circumstances.
While it is certainly an individual’s right to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, there are several common and easy pitfalls which can lead to a possible denial of your claim or future Workers’ Compensation medical and/or indemnity benefits. Call Segar & Sciortino at (585) 475-1100 for a free confidential consultation to help you better understand your rights.
Segar & Sciortino has served Western New York for over 25 years in the areas of Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability and Personal Injury (Accident) Law. Local experience you can trust to get the benefits you deserve.