Worker’s compensation insurance carriers and employers are not motivated to pay claims
Insurance companies and employers have an incentive to not provide the benefits for your at-work-injury. Employers do not want their insurance rates to increase, and insurers do not like to part ways with their money. Meanwhile, you are injured and want your medical expenses and lost wages covered.
How can you protect yourself from financial harm when you’ve been injured or become sick as a result of your work?
Here are a few critical steps every employee can take to make sure they do not end of fighting for their health by themselves.
- TELL someone. Make sure you report what has happened to you to the proper personnel. This could be your safety supervisor, your shift supervisor, Human Resources, and/or the owner of the company. (Ideally, you should tell more than one person.) You should do this even if you do not believe you have a serious injury. If you send someone a text message or an email … SAVE IT!
- Document what happened. Many times, when an employee suffers a fall, or gets jarred by machinery, that employee will not feel the full effects of their injury right away. This is especially true of soft tissue injuries that do not become fully symptomatic until swelling occurs over the next 2-3 days. People’s memories fade and problems can occur when a good-natured employee tries to “walk it off” and does not report the injury for several days or weeks.
Think about documenting and reporting an injury like your favorite crime scene drama. It’s your job to leave a trail of clues to help lead investigators to the source of your injury. If you are performing a manual labor job then you should report the nagging pain and overuse issues that are caused by your job whenever you feel them. If nothing comes of it – great! However, if you need medical attention down the road, it is important that the cause of your pain/injury is documented with your supervisors, co-workers, and especially the doctors you have been seeing. All insurance companies will collect your medical records to see what you have told your doctors about your condition. If there is no mention of it being caused by work they will deny your claim. It is important to be upfront and honest with your healthcare providers and your employers by telling them how your injury occurred.
- File a worker’s compensation claim. Worker’s comp means more than a paycheck while you are off work or a payout at the end of your claim. It means you will be evaluated by company doctors for your injury. There is no need for you to use your own insurance if your condition is caused by work. It is another way to leave a clue as to what has caused your condition. It also starts a formal process so there is no confusion later about what has caused your condition.
- Contact a worker’s compensation attorney. The attorneys here at Klezmer Maudlin, P.C. will be happy to answer any of your questions about your worker’s compensation claim. Even if your claim is accepted by the company, there is a good possibility a question will arise in your claim that you will need to ask the advice of counsel to help you resolve it.
Some issues and questions that arise include:
- whether you need more treatment
- if you are entitled to an award for a permanent impairment because of the injury
- if you’ve been fully compensated for all that you’re entitled to
It is important to have an attorney involved early so they can help you navigate your claim. Some of these issues can take months to figure out. It is easier on you, and your attorney, if they can follow along with your claim and help you avoid situations where you are dumped out the work-comp door while you are still needing care. If your claim was initially accepted then it does not cost you any money to have an attorney on your side. No money is required out-of-pocket. We only get paid from what we get for you and that normally comes at the close of your claim.
Above all else, stay focused on your own recovery and consult with an experienced worker’s comp attorney when necessary
If you’ve been injured at work and would like to consult with an experienced worker’s compensation attorney, contact us at Klezmer Maudlin. We care about fighting for the rights of injured persons and workers throughout the state of Indiana. With offices in Evansville, Indianapolis, Lafayette, New Harmony, and Jeffersonville (Louisville, KY), we are well-equipped to handle your case.