The average employee isn't ever going to need to file for worker's compensation, but if you've been injured at your place of work, especially while you're on the clock, you need to know how to proceed. In the majority of cases, it's simply a matter of informing the right people and passing paperwork around. Things get more complex if your compensation claim is denied or its validity challenged, so knowing where to turn in this situation will also be important.
Getting the Ball Rolling
Documenting as much of the events leading up to and following your injury is one of the most important parts of filing a worker's compensation claim. Normally, this is the responsibility of your employer, who will need to file it with the insurance provider carrying the worker's compensation policy. As the injured party, it will be hard for you to direct the narrative, but do make sure you follow up with co-workers to ensure they provided an accurate chain of events.
Use your medical insurance as normal to help cover the cost of treatment, but retain any copies of your medical bills, discharge orders, or official diagnoses. If the doctor puts you on bed rest, or you're otherwise unable to return to work, make sure you have written documentation to support these medical directives. Keep the originals of any documents the hospital gave you, and hand over copies to your human resources office so that they can begin processing the payment for any unpaid medical expense.
A Bump in the Road
In most cases, when on-the-job injuries happen, they are dealt with and everyone goes on with their lives as normal. If your claim is challenged or denied, your first responsibility is to find out by whom and on what grounds. Both your employer and their insurance carrier can deny a claim or request deeper investigation, but you have rights too.
Don't wait to seek out representation if a delay occurs, regardless of the reasoning for said delay. Reach out to your local employment security office to confirm the status of your claim, followed by a worker's compensation attorney. Even if your claim is eventually approved, an attorney can help ensure that the lines of communication stay open and that your interests are protected.
There are a myriad of different reasons why a worker's compensation claim might be denied or challenged, and many of them are entirely valid. It's the invalid or questionable reasons that demand the attention of an experienced legal professional. For more information, contact a firm such as Hamilton Law Firm, P.C.Share