If you have been injured on the job, you are usually entitled to workers' compensation benefits. These benefits provide a percentage of your income while you are unable to work, and they will also cover the medical care associated with your injury. The benefits are paid by a workers' compensation insurance company, not by your employer (your employer pays the premiums to the insurance company). While the insurance company will be handling most of the paperwork, you have responsibilities that you must meet to be sure that your claims are paid and that you receive appropriate compensation. Here are some of them.
Keep Your Medical Appointments
The workers' compensation insurance company will probably have a list of providers that you must choose from. Sometimes they will tell you one particular healthcare facility that you must use. While you are free to see your own doctor, be aware that the visits will likely not be covered. Even if you choose to pay out of pocket to see your family doctor, you must see the workers' compensation physicians if you want to receive benefits.
Keep all appointments that you make. If you must cancel an appointment, reschedule as soon as possible. The reason for this is that the workers' compensation insurance company might feel that you are not in pain or having functional difficulties if you do not make the effort to see the doctor as recommended.
Keep Meticulous Records
If you have ever had to depend on your medical insurance to pay for a complicated treatment plan, you know how important it is to document everything. Ask the healthcare provider for a list of all procedures done for your records. Also, write down any medications prescribed.
In addition to keeping track of your medical care for this injury, keep careful notes on how much financial compensation you are receiving. If there is a discrepancy between what you are receiving and what you should be receiving, it's easier to fix if it's caught quickly. If it isn't detected for some reason, having the stubs and payment records will allow an attorney or the insurance company to figure out the difference in what you have been paid and what you should have been paid.
Follow Job Search Directions
In some states, you will need to apply for positions that you can do even with your injury. This is less of an issue if you are only expected to miss work for a week or two, but if your injury causes you to miss many weeks or months of work, you might need to begin looking elsewhere.
Keep careful track of how many jobs you apply for and what the outcome of each application is. If you have to turn in proof of application, get this taken care of as you apply, rather than having to go back and fill out the paperwork later.
Seek the Services of a Workers' Compensation Attorney
If your case is complicated or your injury is severe, a workers' compensation attorney can make sure that you are compensated fairly. He or she will work with the insurance company to ensure that your payments are on time and in full. When you decide to hire a workers' compensation lawyer, you will be forwarding all of your notes on medical visits and your job search to this person. Also, let your doctors know that a copy of any treatment notes are to be sent to your lawyer.
By carefully managing your health care, you can improve your odds of getting better and getting back to your job quickly. In addition, you may be more likely to be correctly compensated without having to chase paperwork or make a lot of phone calls. A workers' compensation lawyer like Tarkowsky & Piper Co., L.P.A. can help; don't be afraid to call in a professional if you feel it's warranted.