Mistakes to Avoid When You Have a Workers’ Comp Claim
If you are hurt while performing your job, you?re not only facing physical recovery but also possible financial hardship. That?s why the state established workers’ compensation insurance to relieve some of your burden. When you have a claim, it?s important to avoid common mistakes.
Although the workers’ comp system is there to help injured workers that doesn?t mean it is easy to understand, participate in, or receive your just award. For help with your claim you need an experienced workers’ comp attorney on your side. Fortunately, Lugar Injury Law understands the system and has helped hundreds of clients receive the workers’ compensation they deserved after being injured on the job.
Common Workers’ Comp Blunders
1. Failing to Report Your Accident or Injury
Tell your employer as soon as practicable about your work-related injury or illness. Virginia law requires that you must do so no later but no later than 30 days from the date of the accident, or within 30 days of the date a doctor says you have a workplace injury or illness.
Many employers have a certain process you need to follow as well and that should be spelled out in an employee handbook or procedures manual. Failing to properly notify your employer could be disastrous for your claim.
If possible, make your notification in writing and save copies.
2. Failing to Make a Claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
Understand that just because you told your employer of your work injury, you haven?t made a legal claim for workers’ comp benefits. You must file your claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission within two years of your injury or diagnosis of occupational illness.
If you miss the filing deadline, you likely will not receive compensation for your work-related injury.
3. Not Seeking Medical Care or Not Following Your Treatment Plan
When there?s an accident at work, especially a slip and fall, you may be hurt and embarrassed. You minimize your injuries and try to ?walk it off? or laugh it away. Don?t do this. Anytime you are hurt on the job you need to seek medical care. Remember, too, that your company may require you to do so. Always get checked out.
Understand that under Virginia law, you will be provided a panel of doctors from which to choses a treating physician. Your chosen doctor becomes your authorized medical care provider for the purposes of your claim.
Equally important to getting medical care is to follow any treatment plan you are given. Failure to do so can undermine your workers’ comp claim.
4. Talking About Your Claim with Coworkers or Posting Your Activities Online
It may be tempting to talk about your accident, injuries, and workers’ comp claim with coworkers, but don?t do it. If there is a dispute over your claim, your coworkers may be called on as witnesses.
Be very careful about what you post online after being injured at work. Appearing to be active when you are complaining of injuries and saying you need to be off work can cause credibility issues.
5. Not Having Legal Counsel
There are lots of moving parts to a workers’ compensation claim. Sometimes it can be straightforward, but other times an injury is severe and there may be several stages of different types of benefits and awards. Your employer may get anxious about resolving the matter and start asking you to settle your claims and provide releases. Do not sign anything without advice of an experienced workers’ comp attorney. Remember that no one in the process is looking out for your rights unless you have your own attorney.
6. Accepting an Incorrect Disability Rating
If you are injured on the job and have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) without returning to full health, you will receive a disability rating that will be a factor in your final settlement with workers’ compensation. If it is too low, you won?t receive the award to which you?re entitled.
7. Failing to Appeal or Following Appeals Rules
A denial of your workers’ compensation claim isn?t the end of it unless you allow it to be. You are entitled to an appeal of the decision denying your claim. As with all things in the law, there are rules you must follow to have an appeal considered.
If you disagree with a workers’ comp decision, you must within 30 days of that decision file a request for reconsideration (an appeal). You also have a right to request a review by the full Commission.
Let Us Help You Avoid Workers’ Comp Pitfalls
The last thing you need when you?ve suffered a workplace injury or occupation illness is the headache of figuring out the workers’ compensation system. But there are some common mistakes people make that you should avoid. Let Lugar Law handle your claim while you focus on getting better so you can return to work.