When you have been injured on the job it is important to treat the situation very seriously. Here are a few great pointers that you should bear in mind as you begin the process of dealing with this situation.
No. Fault is not an issue in determining whether you are entitled to workers compensation benefits. The important determinations are whether you had an accident while working for your employer and you are injured as a result.
If the doctor says you should be held out from work, the first payment of workers’ compensation is due 14 days after the date of injury.
If you are injured as a result of a work related accident, you should seek immediate medical attention, even if you don’t think your injury is serious. A delay in seeking medical attention can be used as an excuse by your employer to deny your claim. You should always tell the healthcare provider that your accident is work related and how it occurred and tell the doctor EVERYTHING that is bothering you. Provide a complete list of all injuries suffered. If your employer fails or refuses to authorize medical treatment, you should consult with an attorney immediately.
Yes and No. You have to submit to an examination by the company doctor on a reasonable basis, but you have the right to select a treating physician of your choice. You do not have to follow the recommendations of the company doctor as long as you are treating with a physician of your choice. Download free choice of physician form.
You should always get a work slip from your doctor after each visit. The workers’ compensation insurance company will not pay your disability benefits without proof of disability from a healthcare provider. It is important to obtain a work status slip from your healthcare provider after each visit, documenting your disability status and any restrictions you may have as a result of your injury. Failure to do so may result in the denial of your disability benefits.
You cannot be forced to return to work. But if you refuse to return to work after you doctor has released you or given restrictions that your employer is willing to accommodate, then you will not be eligible for workers’ compensation indemnity benefits. If this situation occurs, you need to seek legal representation immediately.
No. For any week that you receive unemployment benefits you forfeit that week of workers’ compensation even is the workers compensation benefits are more than the unemployment benefits, which they usually are.
There are many variables at play here, but usually your workers’ comp indemnity benefit is equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wage for the four full weeks prior to your injury, subject to a maximum compensation rate cap which is currently $630. You can find up to date minimum and maximum comp rates at http://www.laworks.net under information for injured workers.
If you take a job with the understanding that the position is full time, you may be entitled to a presumption for purposes of calculating average weekly wage that he or she is working 40 hours. If the job was actually part time, and you know that when you were hired, then your indemnity benefits will be calculated using a formula for part time hours.
Yes, but often times Social Security may reduce the benefit they pay based on your workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, Social Security will have a say if you choose to later settle your workers compensation claim. If you are considering applying for Social Security you need to speak to an attorney.
Yes. It is very important for you to report your accident and injuries to your employer immediately. Failing to report your accident and injury gives your employer an excuse to deny your claim. But even if you don’t report the accident timely, you still can make a claim.
An accident report will document that an accident happened and any injury. Your employer should complete a written accident report. But, some employers will refuse or fail to complete an accident report. If you think that has happened you should prepare a written report of your accident and give it to your employer AND keep a copy of any accident report for your own records. If your employer fails or refuses to complete an accident report, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney immediately.
Insurance companies use recorded statements to investigate claims. Insurance companies are also looking for information they can use to deny a claim. Having an experienced attorney present during recorded statement can ensure you avoid the pitfalls an unrepresented worker may not avoid, or may not even know to avoid.
The insurance company will ask you to fill out several forms throughout your claim. Some are more important that others and the insurance company will often not explain the purpose of each form. It is crucial for you to fully understand each form before you sign them. The best way to do this is to consult with an experienced workers compensation attorney.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money and they will try to persuade you to accept a quick settlement well below the value of your claim. If the insurance company is pressuring you to settle your case, you should be very cautious and always consult an attorney first to determine whether the settlement is in your best interest.