Do you feel as if you have been wronged? Perhaps you have been forced to work on a construction site without proper protective gear, which has led to your health deteriorating, or maybe you slipped on a wet floor that had no caution sign on it and broke your arm.
You may even have to sit back from work for a couple of days and let your body heal. The idea doesn’t seem very relaxing to you because sitting home means missed wages. So, what do you do? File a claim for compensation, of course!
What exactly is a worker’s compensation claim, and when do you file it?
Well, a worker’s compensation claim is filed when the employee suffers an injury on the job or develops or faces an illness due to the work they do. This claim, when filed, allows the worker to reap certain benefits in order to help their health, family, and other things. The benefits are given to the employee by the company itself, therefore compensating for the harm they have caused.
When to file a compensation claim
A compensation claim is filed when a worker is injured or develops an illness due to the environmental factors of the job. However, the worker must be quick about this because there is a limited period of time within which the employee can report the illness or injury they are facing and claim a benefit. If they do not do this in time, they may not be able to reap the benefits from the compensation claim.
15 steps to take
Let us look at the 15 necessary steps one needs to take when filing a compensation claim. This will help you when you are filing your own compensation claim, so it is done in the right way, and you can be sure to reap the benefits rather than taking on the burden of paying for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
Inform your employer
It is extremely important that you inform your employer either orally or in writing. Tell them about your injury or illness and how you got it. Writing this down and sending it or giving it to your employer is always a better option, as there will be proof present if ever needed for legal reasons or others.
Even if you think it may just be nothing or a small injury that does not even cause you to miss any of your work, it is still a good idea to notify your boss. If you are in bad condition and are not able to inform your employer, have a friend, colleague, or family member do it for you instead.
Other than filing a claim with your employer, it is also important that you file an application claim with WCAB, which stands for Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board.
Wait for guidance
Once you have informed your employer about your injury or illness and related it to your workspace environment or conditions, you must wait to see what guidance your employer gives you. A multitude of injuries can apply here, whether you slipped on a wet floor and broke your leg or your lungs have been damaged due to smoke inhalation if you work in such an industry.
Your employer may appoint you a specific doctor you have to go to get it checked or fixed, whether the doctor is a company doctor or an independent one. You are then required to go to that doctor if you want your compensation claim to go through. Moreover, you can seek help from different lawyers as well for example Calhoon and Kaminsky P.C.,
Go for a check-up
It is a good idea to visit a doctor and go for a check-up. This means you will have medical evidence if you ever need it for legal reasons or others. If your workplace has a health unit in the area you work, and you have been told by your employer to go for a check-up, then you must do that. If you have been told by your employer to go for a check-up, you must do that.
You can go to your own doctor, but if your employer has assigned you one, you have to go to that doctor. If the check-up requires you to travel, you are entitled to be reimbursed by your employer. For every one mile you travel, you are entitled to 54 cents.
Explain your injury
When you go in for a check-up to the doctor, you must explain properly what the entire issue is, how you have gotten hurt and what you are feeling. It is important that you draw the correlation between your injury or illness and your work. This will let the doctor record the treatment plan and expenses as compensation on the tab of your employer.
Make sure you provide the doctor with all the relevant information he/she may need. If you have been injured at work, describe fully to the doctor how it happened, when it happened and where it happened. If you have developed an illness due to the exposure you face at work, make sure you tell your doctor about this as well and any related symptoms you have been feeling. Do this in detail, and do not leave anything out. It is going to be for your own benefit in the end.
Don’t be late
It is extremely important to report your injury or illness as soon as it happens or develops. For this, you have 30 days. After 30 days, you will no longer be entitled to compensation from your office or employer. You can tell your employer orally too, but it is always a smarter choice to write it down. Write down a small note detailing what happened to you, the events prior to the injury or illness, and after it too. Make sure you clearly outline the correlation between your injury or illness and your workplace.
The smart idea is to keep a copy of that letter for legal reasons or others. If you are not able to do this because of your condition or health, have a trusted one write it down for you and send it. This step is very important because even if your employer may accept a late claim, it is very unlikely the insurance company will accept it if you are late. You can miss out completely on compensation if you are late and will have to take complete responsibility for all medical bills or lost wages due to this injury or illness.
Listen to the doctor
Once you go for a check-up, the care after it is extremely important, too; make sure you follow exactly what your doctor tells you to do. If you do not, and your injury or illness gets worse, the company you work for may not end up being liable for it, as your ignorant actions would have caused the seriousness of your injury or illness.
The goal of your doctor would be to restore your health back to what it was before, pre-injury or illness. If you do not take your doctor’s appointments and advice seriously, you could end up putting your worker’s compensation benefits in jeopardy.
It is very important that you stay on top of your game at all times. You must make sure that you have completed all the paperwork that is needed for your compensation claim to be processed. There may be a lot of paperwork involved, so just make sure you have filled out all the details needed and provided any proof or evidence required. This will help your claim issue be solved much quicker, without less hassle.
Check the laws
Laws keep changing and getting amended. Other than checking your company’s policy, also check the laws of your state or country and see how they may apply to you and in your situation. Staying at the top of your game can really help you in these situations, as no one can fool you by saying something that is not true, as you will already know all your rights and everything you are entitled to.
Keeping evidence and proof is very important. This could be in the form of notes, copies of notes, pictures, text messages, audio or videos, and doctor’s notes. Make sure you make a copy of everything, such as any letter you may have sent out, all your medical bills, reports, and forms. It is best to do this as soon as you can, so you do not misplace any of these because these could be vital in getting compensation from the company you work at.
If there is ever a dispute regarding the compensation claim, you will have enough proof to show and achieve the benefits that you are so deserving of. This can also help you in a legal battle. If your employers have wronged you, such as not providing you with safety equipment, due to which you have faced serious health issues, you have a right to fight against them in court if they deny you any compensation or compensation that is too less.
Check your company’s policy
Company policy differs. Some companies may offer compensation for the stress they may have caused or injuries you may have sustained while commuting to and from your home to work. On the other hand, some may not. So, it is a good idea to stay on top of things and check whether your company will even pay you compensation for your injury or illness. It is also a good idea to check your company’s policy about how long you will get compensation for.
Take care of yourself
While it is important to document the entire process of the check-up, healing, and aftercare, you must not risk your life over it or any part of your body. Always focus on getting yourself back to top shape first, rather than waiting for some compensation claim to come about so you can go to the doctor and get it fixed. After all, it is your health, and it will affect you the most.
Accept or negotiate
If your compensation claim is accepted, you can either accept it as it is, whatever the amount may be that the company is paying you, or negotiate. You can negotiate with your employers, as long as they are ready to listen to you, about increasing the compensation. Of course, you cannot force them to do this, but if you feel as if they are very stingy and unfair, you can sue them for more money in the form of compensation. Remember; only take on a legal battle if you have the means to fight it and the evidence to back your claim up.
It is possible that your claim can be denied by your employer. In this case, you may be able to ask the insurance carrier to reconsider the claim. There is another thing you can do, which is a formal appeal. This is done through the state worker’s commission. Do not be disheartened, rather try again, and you may find that it was worth it in the end.
This form is the worker’s compensation form. It should be given to you within one working day of you informing your employer about your injury or illness. You must fill this form out as accurately and quickly as you can. Make sure you list every part of your body that has been injured and hurt, and then hand in the form to your employer or mail it to them. There will also be a portion of this form that you leave blank, as it is meant for the employer.
These 15 steps are absolutely essential in getting your compensation claim to be accepted by the insurance company. If you have been wronged by your employers, you must take a stand for yourself and file for compensation. If you have been hurt on the job, either physically or mentally, or have developed some disease due to your environmental factors on the job, your employers can be held responsible for all this. It may not fix everything and bring it back to as it was before, but compensation, especially monetary compensation, can help ease the process a lot more.