Filing for workers’ compensation can be a difficult process, and it’s easy to make mistakes when you don’t know what to expect. Sometimes employers make the process harder, trying to talk you out of filing for compensation. In other cases, they may direct you to see a specific physician who may not recommend all the testing and treatments availible.
At Kentucky Injury Law Center we want to help you avoid these mistakes so you can get back to health and earn the full recovery you’re entitled to. With that in mind, here are the top four mistakes we see people make when filing for workers’ compensation.
4. Not Identifying the Injury
One of the most common workers’ comp mistakes is failing to recognize when an injury is work-related, especially when it comes to latent injuries. For example, you may not connect an accident at work to the pain in your back until a few days later.
If you experienced a workplace accident or believe you were injured at work, you should see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel immediate pain. Seeking medical attention as soon as possible can help identify “invisible” injuries that may worsen if left untreated.
In some cases, an employer may tell an injured worker not to tell the doctor they were hurt at work but at home or somewhere else. Never do this.
Remember that an employer may say they will take care of medical bills or lost income, but almost never do. Employers might also tell the insurance companies that the injury did not occur at work. This is also why it's important to seek prompt medical attention.
If you are injured at work or believe you were injured at work, always tell your medical provider how you were injured. In some cases, this could be the only evidence that helps you get workers' compensation benefits.
Once you’ve identified an injury and a probable cause, you should contact an attorney so you can start your workers’ comp claim.
3. Not Reporting the Injury
After a workplace accident, you may feel hesitant to report your injury and start your claim. Remember that your employer must know about your injury to start the workers’ compensation process.
It’s tempting to assume your employer is aware of your injury and has started the paperwork on your behalf, but that’s not always the case. When you are hurt at work, you need to be proactive and tell your employer that you were injured because of a work-related accident. That’s the only way to be sure your employer is aware of your injury and is taking steps to document your concerns and start the workers’ compensation process.
When you’re injured at work, your employer is required to complete the FROI (First Report of Injury) for any workplace accident. Make sure to get a copy of the FROI as soon as possible.
If your employer refuses to complete an FROI or give you a copy, make your requests by other means that can be saved and printed (such as emails and texts). This effectively documents your injury and your request for the FROI.
While reporting the injury, remember to collect as much documentation as possible, especially in terms of the extent of your injuries and how long they prevent you from working.
2. Not Seeking Medical Help
When you are injured at work, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Your employer might advise that you visit a specific physician. Remember that in Kentucky, you have the right to choose your own doctor. The exception maybe if you have Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) insurance through your employer that requires you to select a doctor in your network.
Once you’ve been treated, it’s critical that you keep up with the care plan. Make sure you attend all of your follow-up appointments, on time, and follow any restrictions that your doctor places on you while you recover. Skipping appointments or being active while recovering could impact your workers’ comp claim and make it more difficult to earn the full benefits you are entitled to.
1. Not Seeking Legal Assistance
It’s important to discuss your workplace injury with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Often, injured workers don’t realize the benefits of having legal representation and try to handle the case themselves. At the same time, insurance companies often use an injured worker’s lack of knowledge of the claims process to cheat injured workers out of tens of thousands of dollars of benefits they are entitled to.
When you hire a workers’ comp attorney, they’ll guide you through the process and manage paperwork, negotiations, and phone calls so you can focus on your recovery. Additionally, those who hire a workers’ compensation attorney are more likely to receive the total benefits they are entitled to under the law, which can make a huge difference when facing medical bills and other damages.
Moving Forward After a Workplace Injury
Making a workers’ compensation claim is a complex and challenging process. Sometimes it is difficult to identify an injury; in other cases, the legal process can feel daunting and inaccessible without help. When you hire the experienced attorneys at Kentucky Injury Law Center, our team will help you navigate your workers’ compensation case so you can focus on getting better.
If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Kentucky workers’ comp attorney who will work tirelessly on your behalf, don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (270) 423-0023.