What Is Workers’ Compensation?
You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.
How Does Workers Comp Work?
There is a standard practice to follow when going through the workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss. For example, say your supervisor asked you to drop something off on your lunch break. While running this errand you then get in a car accident on your way to the destination. Any resulting injury is eligible for workers’ compensation. However, if you are on your lunch break, performing no such task when you get in an accident, it does not qualify for a claim.
The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.
Get Medical Attention
This is an important step when learning how workers comp works. After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.
Receiving immediate medical attention is essential, even if you believe that your injury is minor. Get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.
When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is either the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.
File a First Report of Injury
Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how workers comp works. The first report of on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to bring a copy of the doctor’s report to submit with the report of injury.
Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. In the meantime, the workers’ comp insurer may begin paying medical benefits while the investigation into your claim continues.
Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
In learning how workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to call into question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.
Some of the reasons that you should consider hiring a workers compensation lawyer include:
Your employer or their insurance company is questioning your level of disability
Your employer’s insurance company isn’t working with you
You already have a pre-existing medical condition
The insurance company denied your claim
You are currently receiving other types of government benefits
You have an upcoming scheduled workers’ compensation hearing
The most common reason why people hire a workers’ compensation lawyer is that their claim was denied. This can happen if your employer is challenging your injury or if your claim wasn’t properly filed.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to thoroughly look over the paperwork that was involved in your claim. They will make any needed corrections to assist in fighting for your compensation.
If you happen to have a diagnosis of a long-term disability from the medical professional you were seeing, your employer may challenge this claim. Some employers may require you to see another doctor for an Independent Medical Examination to verify or refute your doctor’s diagnosis. Hiring an experienced lawyer that has interacted with insurance companies, medical doctors and government agencies helps to ensure that you are treated fairly.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer
Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!