What to watch out for when filing a workers’ compensation claim

Wharehouse worker with clipboardWe have represented workers’ compensation claimants for many years and have seen innocent mistakes by injured workers come back to haunt them later on. Here are some issues you should consider, and problems to avoid, when filing a workers’ compensation claim:

After a work-related injury, request medical attention and report the incident.

  • If your injury requires more than first aid, document your injury or it may be used against you later in your claim.
  • If you fail to get prompt, appropriate medical treatment, the claims adjuster or the defense lawyer will use this against you and argue that your injury is not work related or is minimal.

In the report, disclose everything the first time.

  • Be very thorough and disclose all injuries, whether they’re major or minor.
  • Failing to report a minor injury and only focusing on more serious ones
    • May result in a denial for claims covering minor injuries, or
    • What you think is a minor injury may actually be a major one. Its symptoms may only be clear later on.

Make a note of any witnesses to your accident and get written statements from them if possible. This can support your claim in case the insurance company tries to deny it.

Communicating with the workers’ compensation insurance company is a bad idea.

  • Though they may sound like they are, insurance adjusters are not your friends. You are dealing with trained professionals whose sole purpose is to protect the employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company. They want to save money and pay you as little as possible.
  • An experienced adjuster or defense attorney can use statements made by injured workers against them.

Not filing a claim because no work was missed is a mistake.

  • Workers’ compensation benefits don’t just apply to time missed from work. These benefits include payment for medical services and prescription drugs. The insurance will likely also cover travel expenses related to getting to and from the doctor.

Be prepared to be watched, online and in public.

  • It’s become common practice for insurance adjustors to hire investigators to gather evidence concerning your activities to disprove that you are injured or prove your injury is not as serious as you claim.
  • They may monitor your movements and activities, even interview your neighbors. You may be video recorded while out in the public.
  • Any postings on social media, especially those describing what you are doing and where you are going, may end up on the investigator’s computer. They would like nothing more than to see pictures or videos posted showing you engaged in any kind of vigorous, strenuous activities.
  • It may only take about five seconds of video, a picture or a posting about your vacation to provide evidence contesting your claim.

When it comes to workers’ compensation, an ounce of prevention with a claim is worth a pound of benefits. If you have any questions about workers’ compensation, contact our office.