Following these tips provided by a Santa Rosa workers’ compensation lawyer will make it easier to receive workers’ comp benefits
Employees who were injured at work can take some simple steps to smooth the process of receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The Santa Rosa workers’ compensation lawyer at Kneisler & Schondel offers the following ten tips that employees should keep in mind when they are injured at work.
1. Always report an injury to your employer.
Workers’ compensation insurance companies will not pay benefits on a claim unless an employer is aware that the employee’s injury is work-related. In most cases, the employer learns of a work-related injury when the employee reports it to a supervisor. Failing to timely report an injury can cause an employee to lose the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
2. Report the injury as soon as you can.
It is best to notify a supervisor of a work-related injury immediately. An unnecessary delay creates the opportunity for the employer’s insurance company to argue that the employee was not injured at work.
Sometimes a work injury or occupational disease develops slowly over time. In those cases, you should report the injury or illness to a supervisor as soon as you learn or suspect that it is related to your job. Talk to a Santa Rosa workers’ compensation attorney if you are uncertain whether your health condition is covered by workers’ compensation.
3. Identify witnesses to the accident.
In most cases, it will be obvious that an accident occurred at work. To avoid any doubt, however, take note of the people who saw the accident that caused the injury. Whether they are co-workers or (in the case of a work-related traffic accident, for instance) bystanders who happened to witness the accident, your Santa Rosa workers’ compensation lawyer may need to interview them later to prove your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits.
4. Identify your employer’s medical care provider.
Your employer’s insurance company will probably be affiliated with a medical care network or health care organization that treats job-related injuries suffered by the employer’s workers. The employer must display a poster that tells you where to get medical care in the event of a work-related injury.
5. Tell your doctor that you need treatment for a work injury.
When your doctor asks you how your injury occurred, make sure to explain in detail how it happened at work. Once a health care provider is notified that an injury is work-related, it must bill your employer, not you, for your medical care. That saves you the hassle of redirecting medical bills to the claims administrator who handles your case. It also creates a written record to provide further confirmation that your injury occurred at work.
6. Complete the claim form.
Within one day after you report your injury to your employer, the employer must give you a claim form. You should complete the form in full and return it to your employer as soon as you can. If you are uncertain how to answer a question, ask for advice from a workers’ compensation attorney in Santa Rosa.
7. Follow your doctor’s orders.
Your health and your workers’ compensation benefits depend on complying with recommended treatment. If you do not go to the doctor for a scheduled follow-up visit, the insurance company will assume you have recovered and need no further treatment. If you later return to the doctor, the insurance company may assume that you sustained a new injury that isn’t work related, and may use that assumption as an excuse to deny further benefits. If you must miss a scheduled appointment, be sure to notify the medical provider in advance, and reschedule the appointment promptly.
8. Notify your employer of any work restrictions.
If your doctor determines that you are unable to return to your regular work, but can work subject to certain restrictions (such as “no lifting more than 10 pounds”), make sure that your employer is aware of those restrictions as soon as possible. Your employer has no obligation to provide the kind of modified work that is recommended by your treating physician. However, so long as your employer fails to accommodate the work restrictions, the worker’s compensation insurance company must pay you temporary disability benefits.
9. Get help when settling a workers’ compensation claim.
The workers’ compensation process can be straightforward when an employee is able to return to work quickly and the injury has no lasting impact. When the injury is long-standing or is likely to cause permanent impairment or disability, the process becomes more complex.
Trying to determine the appropriate disability rating for an injury can be bewildering for people who are not familiar with the process. Insurance companies have a financial incentive to minimize settlements. An employee will almost always be able to negotiate a better settlement of a workers’ compensation claim when the employee is represented by a Santa Rose workers’ compensation lawyer.
10. Find the lawyer who is right for you.
When you interview workers’ compensation lawyers, choose one with whom you feel comfortable. An attorney who listens carefully to your problem, who explains the law clearly, and who is sympathetic to your situation may be the best fit for your case.
Knowledge and experience is also important. The primary area of law practice of Santa Rosa’s Kneisler & Schondel, is workers’ compensation. Contact us at (707) 542-5132 to put our experience and dedication to work for you.