Every year, over $6 trillion is spent to cover people due to work-related injuries or illnesses. These issues can range from black lung in mine workers to slip and fall accidents on the factory floor. If you’ve been hurt at work, navigating the route to work injury compensation can be complicated.
Just because the system is labyrinthine doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply. If you feel you’re less able to complete your work as well or can’t enjoy your time at home because of injuries, you should see if you’re covered. Coverage can range from temporary full lack of mobility to permanent lower level disability.
If you’re hurting, you might want to get to know if you’re entitled to anything. Rather than make guesses about work injury compensation, here are the top 9 things you should know about work injury compensation.
1. You Should Report Right Away
If you’ve got even a slight illness or injury that your doctor thinks could be related to your job, you need to report it right away. While you might be tempted to just talk with coworkers and see what they think, that’s not enough. You need to get these things officially on paper in black and white.
Contact your HR department and let them know you’ve been injured. If you’ve already been to a doctor, make a copy for HR or risk management. You should get a call from an insurance adjuster soon after.
2. Pick The Right Doctor
If you’re in a state of emergency, don’t argue with the ambulance driver. Go to the nearest hospital.
If you can drive yourself to the doctor and your boss tells you to see a particular doctor, go where they advise you to. This will ensure that your bills are covered. They are advising you because they work with a specific doctor or clinic for their work injury compensation claims.
3. Mention It’s Job-Related
When you get to the hospital or to the doctor’s office, let them know that your injury is work-related. Most paperwork will have a box asking if your injury is work-related.
This automatically forwards your bills to your employer or their work injury compensation insurance company. The last thing you need is a mailbox full of bills when you get home from the hospital.
You might even be entitled to employer-paid physical therapy.
4. Check Your Medical Records
Your medical records need to be comprehensive when it comes to talking about your accident. There should be a detailed explanation of how your injuries are work-related.
Every part of your body that’s been affected should be mentioned. If you end up discovering a fractured hip and didn’t mention hip pain on your report, you might have to pay for a replacement yourself.
Take your time to ensure that you’ve paid attention to your body and reported your injuries in a comprehensive manner.
5. Ask Your Boss About Workers’ Compensation
Most workplaces have either a stack of brochures or a poster describing how their work injury compensation program works. Get a copy and make sure you understand it entirely.
Your state should have a workers’ compensation office that you can get into contact with through the brochure. Take a look at what’s listed on their website and if you have further questions, you should reach out and call them.
The state office should be able to explain in detail what should be covered by your employer. If what your boss says conflicts with what the state says is the law, let your boss know. If they persist in denying you your rights, contact a lawyer.
6. Employers Have Incentive To Lie
If your employer tries to claim that the accident was your fault to avoid paying for your coverage, they might be trying to avoid dealing with the issue. In cases of workers’ compensation, you’re dealing with “no-fault” insurance. This means it doesn’t matter whose fault it is.
If you put a box down and trip over it ten minutes later, you’re still covered, even though you put the box where you fell.
The only reason you wouldn’t be covered is if you weren’t actually doing work. If you were injured because you were making an obstacle course out of boxes and fell trying to win, you’re the one who is at fault.
7. Sobriety Matters
If you were drinking while on the job, you won’t be covered the same way. Many employers and insurance companies require you to take a drug test following your accident. If you test positive, your claim could be denied.
In states where marijuana is legalized, not all the kinks have been worked out regarding workers’ compensation. While you might have a prescription from your doctor, if you’re operating a forklift or other heavy machinery, you might need to speak with your boss.
8. Don’t Retire Yet
While you might be able to get a decent amount of compensation for a permanent injury, it’s usually not quite up to the level of CEO pay. Most workers’ compensation is based closer to minimum wage.
A big payout will require you to go to court and argue that there is serious, permanent, and persistent pain and suffering.
9. Don’t Test The System
While it might be tempting to fudge the facts a little, many insurance companies do long-term surveillance on their biggest payouts. If you’re faking it or pretending to need a wheelchair, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be caught out dancing on the weekend.
This could result in jail time and shame for you and your family.
Work Injury Compensation Is Complicated
The laws surrounding work injury compensation vary from state to state. If you’ve been injured, get acquainted with the laws. Check with your state’s department of labor website to get more details.
If you’ve been injured and need some advice on what to do next, contact us for tips on making the right moves.
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