Injured At Work? What To Do To Protect Yourself
Work injuries can turn your life upside down. They not only cause physical pain, but can interrupt your day to day finances causing a great deal of stress. If your employer or their insurance carrier deny your claim, that only makes things worse. Denials delay your treatment and delay you receiving the monetary benefits afforded you by state law.
How can you avoid unnecessary delay in your workers' compensation claim? How can you help prevent your employer and their insurance carrier from denying your claim? What should you do after you have been injured? Well, if you're looking for answers, keep reading and/or give us a call.
So you've been injured.
Your case begins the very moment you have been injured. What you do or fail to do immediately after your injury can and will have an impact on your claim.
First things first, if you suffer an injury on the job, you need to immediately report it to your supervisor or whomever your employer has designated to receive notice of injuries. Pursuant to Miss. Code §71-3-35, your employer must receive actual notice of the injury within thirty days of the incident, or your claim could be barred. The sooner you report, the better. With every day that passes you are giving the employer and insurance carrier ample ammunition to cast doubt on whether your injury actually occurred at work.
It's vitally important to report the injury. If possible, ask that an incident report be filled out the same day the accident takes place. With an incident report, the injury will have been recorded in writing establishing written evidence of what took place.
If you are unable to report the injury the same day it takes place, report it as soon as you possibly can. The importance of reporting the injury cannot be overstated. I have seen late reporting of injuries cause major issues and headaches in claims. This is an issue that can almost always be avoided.
First visit with a medical provider.
After you have been injured and reported the injury to your employer, you may find yourself in a doctor's office or a hospital. As I stated earlier, your case begins the moment you've been injured. What you do or fail to do can make or break your case.
The most important thing you can do to help your claim when you first seek medical attention is to clearly relate to the medical provider how and where you were injured. You might be surprised how often this is an issue, but it happens.
If you fail to tell the doctor you were injured on the job, the doctor won't put it in his or her record and you've just given the employer and carrier a reason to deny your claim.
The burden is on you, the injured worker, to prove you were hurt at work. One of the best ways to help you prove your case is to have medical records which back up your claim. If you tell the doctor you got hurt at work and how, then it's going in the record and is evidence that will help prove your case.
What else can you do?
The goal here is to ensure you get exactly what you're entitled to after an injury. Reporting the injury and making sure to tell your doctor how you got hurt will go a long way in making that happen. However, there are several other things you can do to help your claim.
1: Write down anyone who may have witnessed your injury. Having a witness can bolster your credibility and claim.
2: Seek medical attention for your injury as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more doubt an adjuster or judge will have about your claim.
3: Make sure you know who your employer has for workers' compensation insurance. This information is legally required to be posted in your workplace. If your employer refuses to report your injury, having this information could help you move things along quicker.
4: Consider hiring an attorney early on. If you wait until after your claim has been denied or you encounter trouble to hire an attorney, it will take longer for your attorney to help resolve the problem.
If you have any questions concerning an on the job injury, do not hesitate to contact our office at (601) 869-0696. We'll be happy to help!