Workers' compensation claims are often misunderstood by those who can benefit the most from them. Although it's often relatively straightforward to file a claim, the process can quickly turn more complicated. Many people receive a wealth of documents after filing their claim, many of which can be hard to understand without help.
Unfortunately, there are several missteps you can make early in your case that can potentially affect your settlement or even result in a denied claim. If you're suffering from an injury you received at your workplace, make sure you avoid these critical mistakes that can sabotage your case before it even begins.
1. Not Contacting an Attorney
It's a common misconception that consulting with an attorney means suing your employer or moving beyond the normal settlement process for workers' compensation. However, an initial consultation won't change anything about the current progress of your case. Instead, it will allow an attorney to evaluate your situation and provide advice for moving forward.
Contacting an attorney as soon as possible is often the best option since you may not understand the documents you've received or whether you should sign any papers from the insurance company. Make sure you bring all your paperwork so your attorney can assess your case and recommend what (if any) actions you need to take.
2. Misrepresenting Your Injury
Many people feel loyalty to their employers, especially in good, well-paying jobs. On the other hand, some employees also worry that their employers may retaliate for a workers' compensation claim. Whatever the case, it's important to remember that retaliation is likely illegal in your state, so you should never worry about your employer firing you for a claim.
However, it's still relatively common for workers to misrepresent injuries by saying they occurred off the job, especially if under pressure from an employer. Unfortunately, these statements can potentially destroy a workers' compensation claim. It's critical to be completely honest about your injury when talking to healthcare workers. Never misrepresent a work injury as something that happened at home.
3. Not Sticking with Your Treatment Plan
Your healthcare team will recommend treatment options and follow-up care for your injury, and you must follow these instructions. Ignoring your treatment plan, attempting to do too much, or even trying to return to work before receiving authorization can severely impact your claim's outcome. Your medical record should show that you've diligently kept up with treatments and examinations.
While they can be intimidating, workers' compensation claims don't have to be stressful. Taking the correct steps from the beginning can help ensure a successful settlement, giving you the best chance to recover from your injuries and return to your job.
For more information, contact a workers' compensation law firm in your area such as Schrader Companion Duff & Law, PLLC.