Have you recently sustained what appears to be a minor injury at work? Are you worried that it could become a more serious issue? Either way, it’s vital to take further steps and consider filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Don’t take your health and wellbeing lightly. Even a supposedly minor injury can affect your productivity and keep you stranded from work for many weeks, months even. In certain cases, the severity of the injury can make you more vulnerable to future injuries. This is why it’s crucial to be well informed about your rights, the legal aspects of work-related injuries, and the process of filing the claim. Continue reading!
You Report the Injury to Your Employer
First off, you’d need to give notice about the accident. It’s best that you do this in written form. Typically, you’d have to report this to your immediate supervisor or the HR department. In order to properly notify them, the following information is necessary:
- Your full name and contact information
- the exact time and date of the injury
- The location of the incident
- How did the injury happen
- The symptoms that you’re experiencing at the moment.
Keep in mind that it’s in your mutual interest that the issue is resolved and that the employer should help you out with further steps. In California, this means that you’d have to fill in an official claim form.
The Employer Guides You Through the Paperwork
Once you fill out the form with the required details, your supervisor or HR rep should guide you through the rest of the process. Sometimes, you can file the claim online. What’s important is that you do this within the legal deadline. If this is missed, you’ll lose the opportunity to claim benefits. Also, make sure that you avoid the following mistakes when filling out the form:
- Exaggeration – describing symptoms that did not occur
- Speculation – don’t speculate about hidden causes of your accident, stick to the facts that you can recall with certainty
- False reports – don’t try to describe limitations that did not happen. Be accurate, honest, and provide all the necessary details.
Your supervisor will inform you if you need to file any additional paperwork.
The Injury is Reported to the Insurance Company
The employer reports the accident to the insurance carrier and files the claim form. In some cases, the employer will also have to report this to the local branch of the workers’ compensation board. This may apply to all injuries, even if you don’t request compensation.
The Insurer Approves or Denies the Claim
There are two possible scenarios: the insurance carrier will either deny or approve the claim. In the case that your claim is denied, you have two options: you can try to negotiate with the insurance company, or in the much more likely case, you would need to file a formal appeal. This is where you should seek legal counsel from a specialized work comp firm.
If the claim is approved, you could still need legal representation if you’re not satisfied with the payment offer or the lump sum settlement. Of course, you should seek the solution that is best for you and that fully compensates for the loss of ability, medical bills, pain, and suffering.
You Continue the Treatment or Return to Work
Depending on your condition, you’d be able to continue receiving the care you need until you recover. Once you return to work, you’re required to supply written notice to both the insurance company and your employer. If the injury has caused a more permanent disability, the insurance company may have to cover additional benefits. By this time, you should already be informed about further steps by your legal advisor.
The bottom line is that, as an employee, you deserve to know your rights and claim the benefits for which you are entitled. For all additional questions, make sure to contact a versed attorney in your area.