When you are injured at work performing the normal duties of your position, you could be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation can help you receive treatment for your injuries, replacement for your lost income, disability payments, and more, so it’s important to make sure you file for these benefits as soon as possible. However, many people who are hurt on the job also make some potentially critical mistakes due to their lack of knowledge about the system and their desire to hurriedly get their claim underway. Here are five mistakes you should avoid when filing for workers’ compensation.
Not Giving Notice to Your Employer
Believe it or not, it’s actually fairly common for people to rush to file a workers’ comp claim and contact us about it, only to have not actually reported their injury to their employer. This is a great way to get your claim denied in the first place since your employer will simply argue that you never told them about the injury. Likewise, Florida law states you have to report it within 30 days of the incident that caused your injury or 30 days from the date you discovered a condition that occurred as a result of your work in order to remain eligible. The majority of claims reported late are denied. Reporting your injury to your employer should be the first thing you do after you are hurt.
Not Reporting Your Injury Because You Don’t Think You Have a Claim
Were you performing an unusual task or special assignment when you were injured? Even though this incident is beyond what would be considered the “normal” for your work duties, you could still be entitled to workers’ compensation. For example, were you involved in a car accident while driving to a conference? You may be entitled to compensation even though this was not a normal work duty because you were doing so in order to perform a work duty. Your employer may be hesitant to tell you this, however, so you should speak with an attorney about your rights if you think you may have been injured as a result of work.
Not Reporting Because the Injury Didn’t Come from an Isolated Incident
Workers’ compensation injuries don’t have to occur suddenly as a result of an isolated incident, and in fact many of them don’t. Constant exposure to a potentially harmful chemical can cause serious health conditions to develop, or repetitive motions such as typing constantly for years on end can all lead to what are called “repetitive trauma” injuries. There may not be any sort of a single accident to point to in these situations, but you are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when your health suffers in these ways. If you are diagnosed with one of these conditions, report it to your employer and seek help from an attorney as soon as possible.
Thinking Your Health Insurance Will Take Care of It
If you have your own private health insurance (either through your employer or your own private means), it’s easy to think that they’ll take care of any conditions you suffer from, including those sustained on the job. However, using this insurance isn’t usually the best option. For starters, you probably have a deductible on your insurance, which could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars up front. Second, your own private insurance will not pay disability benefits, so you may have your medical expenses covered, but your lost income won’t be replaced. Finally, your insurance may have a coverage cap, meaning it will run out if your expenses become too large. Workers’ comp also has numerous other benefits, such as paying for you to travel long distances to see certain doctors or specialists if your condition calls for you to do so. Therefore, while it may seem like more of a hassle to go through a workers’ compensation claim, it isn’t worth it in the long run to use your own coverage.
Not Reporting Because of an Existing Condition
Did you previously have a sore knee before falling and tearing a ligament in it? This is no reason to think you shouldn’t file a workers’ comp claim. Workplace injuries re-injure or aggravate existing conditions all the time, and your employer is still entitled to pay for the treatment associated with the aggravation or additional pain you may have sustained as a result of your injury. The same thing applies for the vice-versa effect: if a pre-existing condition makes a workplace injury worse, you could still recover benefits. Employers often contest these claims, so it’s important to have an attorney on your side when you are hurt and need to file one of these claims to make sure your rights are still protected.If you need the help of a Martin County injury attorney when filing a workers’ compensation claim, call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates today at 866-675-4427 and request a free case evaluation now!