Life can be quite difficult when you’ve been injured on the job, and workers’ compensation can make things even harder. The bureaucracy surrounding workers’ compensation claims is challenging to navigate, and without an attorney on your side, you may make some missteps that impact your ability to collect. These are the big “don’ts” of workers’ compensation claims:
- Taking Your Time to Report the Injury- While we like to wait until we’re sure we’re injured, this can be a problem when it comes to worker’s compensation. You need to report the injury the moment it happens, no matter what. Failure to do so can raise suspicion that the incident didn’t occur as you’re claiming. Do not leave the building until that claim is filed. Even if your injury seems minor, report it immediately and make full documentation of the circumstances surrounding it.
- Getting Treated by the Wrong Doctor – If your employer chooses a specific workers’ compensation doctor, you must submit to an exam by that exact doctor in order to be eligible for coverage through workers’ compensation. If your employer does not choose a doctor, you may visit any doctor you’d like, as long as they are qualified to diagnose your injury. Choosing the correct doctor not only assists you in healing faster, but it can also directly impact the overall amount of workers’ compensation benefits you receive.
- Ignoring Restrictions – If your doctor puts work restrictions on you, you must adhere to them. If your workplace is able to accommodate these restrictions, go to work even if you’re not very comfortable. Failure to return to work may terminate some or all of your workers’ compensation benefits and you may lose your job entirely. If you’re truly terribly uncomfortable performing duties, you need to contact your doctor immediately to adjust their restrictions.
- Not Communicating the Specifics of Your Injury to the Doctor – Now is not the time to simply grin and bear it. Minimizing the amount of pain you’re in or glossing over details regarding how you got the injury is a bad idea. If your doctor isn’t aware of your pain, they have very little reason to properly treat you, and this can be devastating to your claim. They need these details in order to accurately diagnose you and the severity of the situation, otherwise you run the risk of going back to work too soon or being reinjured. Always be truthful with the doctor so you can get the workers’ compensation benefits you need during this difficult time.
The main thing to adhere to is that every time you interact with someone involved in your claim — employers, doctors, and the insurance company — think about whether what you’re saying could be construed in a way that harms your claim. If it could be, contact a workers’ compensation attorney for guidance on getting the compensation you deserve.