In my experience, four of the most common reasons Workers’ Compensation claims are denied are lack of reporting, lack of immediate medical care, not listing all of your injuries and trusting your employer to “take care of you”. Following the four simple steps below can save you a lot of stress and headaches later down the road.
- File an incident report.
Most employers have a system in place that requires you to file a written accident report. You should always do this as soon as possible after an injury occurs. Filling this paperwork out does not require you to seek medical care or file a Workers’ Compensation claim. However, if you have ongoing issues due to an injury that at first did not seem to be serious enough to need treatment, you have the incident report to prove not only that there was indeed an incident that occurred at work but exactly when it occurred. It is a good idea to keep a copy of the incident report for your own records.
- Seek medical care immediately
While this may not always mean leaving work to go to the hospital, being seen at an urgent care at the end of your work shift is additional documentation that there was indeed an injury and may reduce the chances of your claim being denied. The longer the delay between the original incident and the first treatment, the more likely this will be raised as an issue in the claim process.
- List ALL possible injuries
While it is often hard to tell every body part that may have been injured in an accident, it is important to list as many as possible, even if you think it is minor. It could be important later if it turns out not to be as minor as you first thought. Accurately documenting all of your injuries at your initial visit is critical.
- Do NOT take an employer’s word that they will “take care of you”
While many employers that say this may have good intentions, they may not realize how extensive your injury is or how long you may need medical care and may later stop paying medical bills and time off of work. Always file a claim. This is why your employer has Workers’ Compensation insurance.
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