If you have been hurt at work, it is essential to take action to protect your rights and entitlement to medical care and lost wage checks. Here are a few tips to keep in mind should you find yourself hurt at work or should your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company dispute your claim:
1. Document all accidents. This means make sure there is a record of your being injured.
2. Document all injuries. You should report all injured body parts to both your supervisor and medical providers. Many times cases are won or lost based on what was documented on initial injury reports or the first medical records following your injury.
3. Create a paper trail. How do you do that? If you fill out a report, get a copy. They won’t give you one? Take a picture of it. Then e-mail it to yourself and your boss. If they won’t let you fill out a report, email your supervisor to report the injury and request care.
4. Try not to document your injury or reporting with a text message. Many phone companies do not keep records of the context of the message and many times texts are deleted (accidentally on your part or intentionally on the employer’s part).
5. Treat only with your authorized workers’ compensation doctors. The work comp insurance company can ignore the opinions of your personal doctors. For example, if you get surgery because your own doctor said you need it, you will not only be responsible for payment of that care, but liable for any complications that arise from the surgery. If you wait for your workers’ compensation carrier to authorize care, they will be responsible for payment as well as for future care related to the injury.
6. Give a detailed history to your doctor. One of workers’ compensation’s favorite defenses is to deny care based on a false, misleading or incorrect past medical history. Make sure to tell your doctor all of the past medical history that is related or connected to your current workers’ compensation injury.
7. Don’t guess in depositions. If you guess, and you guess wrong, the insurance company won’t know you were trying your best and will think you were intentionally providing false information. If you must guess make sure the other side knows you are not 100% certain.
8. Be aware of surveillance. The insurance companies can follow you and take video of your activities. If you are in public, you are fair game.
9. Be honest with your doctor about your physical abilities. The insurance companies’ second favorite defense is to take the video of you to your doctor and show them what you are doing in your personal life. If you tell the doctor you can’t bend your knee, but they have video of you bending, crawling or squatting, they may be able to deny you further medical care and money.
10. Hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Unfortunately, an injured worker simply cannot survive alone in today’s workers’ compensation system. The laws are intentionally written to favor the insurance company and your employer. Don’t wait for work comp to provide you the care and benefits you deserve.
If you have any question or concerns and are considering seeking legal representation, call one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorney’s today. Call (561) 616-3800 or contact us online to speak with one of the dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt today.