You’ve been injured on the job. You’re in pain. Now what? Immediately, you want to start a Workers’ Compensation claim. Good. It’s the right thing to do. However, wanting a claim doesn’t guarantee coverage. Rather, the process can be daunting. Remaining aware of the battle can best prepare you for possible litigation should your case be denied. Here are the steps you need to know.
- Documenting the injury initiates your Workers’ Compensation claim
Normally, an employer must initiate the workers’ compensation claims process by reporting a worker’s job-related injury. Thus, you should notify your employer in writing whenever you suffer a work-related injury or disabling condition. Include specific information about the time and date of the accident, where it happened, what happened, what sort of injury you sustained, and the names of any witnesses to the accident in your written account. Be as detailed as possible. Without this documentation, the claim cannot begin.
- Your Employer must report the accident to its Insurance Company
Just because a claim is initiated doesn’t mean it’s going to automatically proceed without a fight. Your employer has to set it in motion by reporting it to the company’s insurance provider. In fact, if your injury keeps you out of work for five full or partial calendar days or requires you to need medical treatment, Massachusetts law requires your employer to file notice of your injury with the Department of Industrial Accidents and the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. Make sure this happens.
- The Insurance Company approves or denies the Claim
Once the employer has reported the claim to its insurance company, the insurance company decides whether or not to approve the claim. If it agrees to cover the claim, terrific. If not, or doesn’t cover it at the full benefits you think you are entitled to, not terrific. It’s time to act.
- If denied, file a Workers’ Compensation Claim yourself
Don’t settle for no. In fact, three situations exist for you to file a claim:
- Your employer won’t report your workplace injury or illness despite your having provided written notice of your injury;
- Your employer reports your claim, but the claim is either denied by its workers’ compensation insurance company, or the insurance company never responds; or
- The workers’ compensation insurance company approves your claim, but it fails to provide the workers’ compensation benefits you think you should receive (whether it agrees to fewer benefits than you think you should receive or it later modifies or terminates benefits for reasons you disagree with).
If your employer isn’t being cooperative, be proactive. You have the right.
- Realize that the Workers’ Compensation Claim process is highly complex
Negotiating these waters can be full of rough riptides and poisonous jellyfish. Better to swim at a slow and steady pace to maintain your health and stamina. Maintaining your composure while you’re injured is extremely important. Remember, you can avoid all this hassle; simply:
- Speak with a Lawyer as soon as you get hurt
Having a knowledgeable advocate on your side from the start can keep your head up and your stroke well-paced and stress free.
The attorneys at Eden and Rafferty know Workers’ Compensation law well. We can help you with your claim from day one. Let us do so.