If you have been injured at work, the law says that you are entitled to financial compensation. Unfortunately, the process of filing for and actually obtaining workers’ compensation can be frustrating and time-consuming. Valid claims are frequently denied, and recent changes to the system have created more hoops for injured workers to jump through than ever before.
The workers’ compensation system works on very specific deadlines, and there is a vast amount of paperwork that needs to be filled out–and filled out correctly. Any little mistake could result in your claim being denied. There are plenty of other ways your workers’ compensation claim can be negatively affected, too. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most common mistakes you can make.
Not Reporting the Injury
Failing to report your injury to your employer could make you ineligible to receive benefits. While the laws vary from state to state, Georgia requires an injured worker to notify their employer within 30 days of the incident. It is best, however, to report the injury immediately. Keep in mind, also, that you need to report your injury to a supervisor, company owner or HR manager–not a co-worker. File a report in writing and ask for a copy of it and a receipt.
Failing to Seek Medical Treatment
If you are injured enough to file a workers’ compensation claim, you are injured enough to seek medical treatment. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide funding to treat injuries incurred at work and help injured workers recover. If you fail to seek medical treatment, it will likely seem there is no treatable injury.
Also, if you do seek medical treatment, you need to follow your doctor’s orders. Failure to do so could result in your claim being thrown out.
Posting on Social Media
Lawyers and the insurance companies that pay workers’ compensation claims are always on the lookout for fraud. If you are someone who likes to share details about your day-to-day life on social media, you may want to be mindful of what you post if you have recently filed a workers’ compensation claim.
The folks who do things like claim back injuries that prevent them from lifting and then post pictures of themselves ziplining while on vacation or post status updates from the golf course when they’re off work because of “severe” carpal tunnel syndrome have made things difficult for honest, injured people to get the compensation they deserve. For this reason, we recommend that you avoid posting anything on social media that could make your claim seem questionable. Even if you are being honest about the severity of your injury and how it limits you, someone could misconstrue an innocent post or photo in a way that calls your claim into question. As you probably know, it’s very easy for misunderstandings to occur on social media.
Talking to a Third-Party Administrator
A third-party administrator is not someone who has your best interests in mind. They work for the employer, and whether they are self-insured or state-funded, business owners want to reduce their financial responsibility in workers’ compensation cases.
While a third-party administrator (TPA) may seem non-threatening, they will use anything you say against you if doing so would benefit their client. Avoid speaking with them, if possible. If you absolutely need to talk to them, keep your interaction to a minimum and provide as little information as possible. Only offer the most basic details, such as where and when the injury took place, what parts of your body are affected and who was present. Avoid discussing your physical or emotional state or your plans for returning to work.
Not Hiring an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney
You may think that you don’t need help from an attorney when filing a workers’ compensation claim, but in most cases, doing so is in your best interest. While it is sometimes possible to handle simple cases without legal representation, having an experienced lawyer in your corner makes it much likelier that you will be able to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.
If you have been hurt at work, contact your personal injury lawyer to learn more about the requirements for filing a workers’ compensation case and to find out what you need to do to decrease the risk of your claim being denied. Your lawyer will also be able to assist if your claim is wrongfully denied.