Tips for Getting Workers' Compensation
Workers' compensation provides employees with work-injury compensation. This means that if you are hurt in the course of your job, your employer may provide you with payment for your injuries.
However, just because you have been injured while on the job doesn't automatically mean your employer will provide you with workers' comp benefits. In some instances, you may have to appeal to the state's administrative agency in charge of overseeing workers' comp benefits.
Promptly Request Workers' Compensation from Your Employer
Most employers are required by law to carry workers' comp insurance. This insurance is intended both to protect the employee in the event of injury or disability and to protect the employer from lawsuits.
As an employee, to seek workers' compensation you must file a claim with your employer. All states have within their workers' comp laws a statute of limitations that provides employees with a window of time to file their claim. Once this window closes, the employee may no longer file for worker's comp. This is why it is important to immediately alert your employer if you would like to seek workers' compensation. To ensure your employer receives this request, submit it in writing and be sure to keep a dated copy of the request for yourself.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Another workers' compensation tip is to seek legal counsel to help you file your workers' compensation claim and secure benefits. Specifically, you should try to hire a workers' comp attorney who has personal injury work experience.
Your lawyer will be able to represent you if your employer and your employer's insurance carrier deny your claim.
Contacting the State Administrative Agency
If you are denied workers' comp benefits from your employer, contact your state's workers' compensation board immediately. You will only have a window of about one to three years to file an application with your state agency, depending on your state's time limits. Any application filed after this time may be denied, and you will not be able to seek workers' compensation.
Make sure that your lawyer has reviewed your workers' comp file and that he or she has included all relevant medical reports. These reports should include the following information:
- Your diagnosis
- Your course of treatment
- How the injury is related to your job
- To what extent permanent disability is expected by your doctor
You will also want to personally document any mental issues, such as depression, that have come up as a result of your work-related injury.
Finally, try to find out who your claims examiner is at the state administrative agency. Usually this person will be able to help you in your quest to receive workers' comp. If your claim is denied after an administrative hearing, save your notice of decision letters, which will alert you as to how many days you have to appeal.