An accident at work can be extremely stressful and even scary. You may not know how to handle the situation or if you should even tell your employer. Just remember that it is your legal right to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Being proactive and taking appropriate action is the first step in the process.
Even with that in mind, many people still make mistakes when filing for workers’ compensation claim. The following are five mistakes we have identified that injured workers make when filing for workers’ compensation benefits.
Not Telling your Employer or Filling out Proper Forms
Many folks make the mistake of hiding the injury and not telling their employer in fear of reprimand or potential loss of their job. That is not the case. You are entitled to both tell your employer and for them to provide you with a claim form so that they can submit it to their workers’ compensation insurance company. If your employer does not have or provide you with the form, you can also obtain one by visiting your state’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) website. It’s extremely important that your injury is documented, in writing, with your employer.
No Recourse if you are Denied
The BWC assigns a claims service specialist (CSS) to your case and they review the documentation from both the employee and the employer to make a determination of the claim. If your claim is denied that does not mean the claim is closed for good. You have options to appeal the determination. Under Ohio law you can file an appeal, but it must be within 14 days. In addition, you would need to fill out and send the Notice of Appeal (IC-12) form to your assigned CSS. It’s best to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney go through this process with you to ensure that the appeal is filed properly and timely.
Cannot File because of Prior Health Problems
Many people think if they have a prior injury or a health issue they cannot file for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured on the job. That is not the case. You have the right to receive covered care through the BWC and compensation for your injury. Just make sure to make an appointment with a doctor who knows your prior history and has the proper background in workers’ compensation injuries.
Seeing a Doctor that does not Treat Injured Workers
In many cases, the employer will recommend you see a specific doctor to treat your injury, however, you are not required to go to a doctor that your employer recommends. It’s always best to treat with a doctor you are comfortable with, but for work injuries it’s best to treat with a doctor who has experience in handling work place injuries. If you have a preferred doctor, you can go there instead. More importantly though, do not wait more than 24-48 hours to seek attention. You do not want your injury to intensify or become a chronic problem.
Not Keeping Track of Paperwork or Reporting Information
There is intense worry and stress that comes with trying to pay bills, going to the doctor and ultimately getting healthy. It can be easy to lose track of the vast amount of paperwork that accumulates from your employer, doctor/s and others. Make sure to keep all of your workers’ compensation paperwork together and as organized as possible. It will ultimately help keep you on track and recognize any discrepancies. Remember, not disclosing information to your doctor, your employer, and your attorney can slow down your claim and even prolong the process.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Bentoff & Duber know the ins and outs of the legal system and the benefits that can cover your injuries. If you have any questions about whether or not you should file for workers’ compensation, or about a workers’ compensation claim, call 216-861-1234 or submit a contact form for a free consultation.
About the author: Brandon Duber, a Partner with Bentoff & Duber Co., LPA, is a lawyer with proven experience in the courtroom and expertise in the areas of workers’ compensation, criminal defense, personal injury and medical malpractice law. He received his B.A. from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY and his J.D. from The Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, OH.