If you get injured on the job, filing for workers’ compensation might feel like an overwhelming process. The last thing you want to do is get tangled in bureaucratic details. You’re likely concerned about recovering, financial losses, medical expenses, and other more impactful aspects. But this is why the Workmen’s Compensation Act was passed – to make justice for employees whose employers failed to protect them.
Maybe you’ve heard stories about the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and the employers having competing interests against the injured employee. This can add to the stress, leaving room for missteps along the way, especially when you’re also dealing with physical and emotional pain resulted from a work-related injury.
Many inadequacies can cause an accident at work, so let’s see what prevents you from having a successful claim compensation that results in paid benefits.
Not Reporting The Injury
You, as well as your employee, have to report any injury, regardless of how minor it is. Your employee, for instance, should inform their insurance company about anything that the workers’ compensation insurance covers, because an insignificant injury can develop into a more serious one, requiring treatment after all.
It’s not easy to determine how many injuries go unreported yearly, once they pass unnoticed. But the truth is that employees choose to hide the mishaps for some reasons, or don’t know that they should report them.
Among the main constraints that keep an injured employee from announcing the accident at the workplace is the fear of facing retaliation from their employer. They might worry that they will be fired, work fewer hours, have fewer benefits, or receive less pay. Another reason employees refuse to tell about the accident is that they feel discouraged by the employee to disclose the unsafe environment and conditions that resulted in the accident.
If this ever happens to be your situation, remember that at the federal level, you’re protected from any retaliation or discrimination for whistleblowing at work. For a successful case, there are several steps that you should take right after the accident, like taking pictures of it and what caused it, video recording, and getting witnesses’ phone numbers – everything that can support your claim in court. You have three years to report your work-related accident; however, you can contact a claim solicitor to help you understand more. They analyse your case for free, and if they’re willing to take it, it means there are chances you can win and be reimbursed for your accident-related losses, whether they’re financial, emotional, or physical. Only after declaring the compensation claim successful, will they take a success fee that covers their general services. Otherwise, you won’t have to pay for anything if the claim fails.
Not Seeking Medical Advice
Workers’ compensation benefits exist to help you recover from an accident or disease you’re not at fault for. Even if you believe the condition is not serious, you should seek medical help immediately after discovering the illness. Otherwise, without seeking care, it might look like there’s no injury.
Failing to comply with the prescribed treatment can also prevent you from receiving workers’ compensation, as this practice is seen negatively by the BWC. If no injury exists and no medical care is needed, the Bureau might decide you shouldn’t be warranted any benefits.
Timely medical treatment is essential to substantiate and prove your claim. Suppose you minimise your symptoms or delay the appointment with the doctor, and your injury or illness worsens. In that case, your employer might circumvent your workers’ compensation by claiming your medical issue is unrelated to your job.
Talking To The Third Party Administrator
Employers, whether self-insured or state-funded through the BWC, seek ways to minimise their financial responsibility as much as possible and will use any information to help them achieve their goal. This is why you shouldn’t talk to the third-party admin, or, at least, be very careful with what you’re disclosing. Don’t mistake their intentions regardless of how well-meaning and kind they may look. Your employer hires them to help them protect their interests, manage workers’ compensation claims, and save them money.
If you can’t avoid discussions, remember the following observations:
- Stick to the basics, like the whereabouts and time of the accident and what body part is injured.
- Don’t tell them about past conditions or injuries you may have.
- Don’t sign or allow statement record.
- Avoid commenting on your emotional state.
You have no obligation to talk to your employer’s TPA. Only two should investigate your injury: your doctor and your workers’ compensation attorney.
Signing Documents That Aren’t Reviewed By A Lawyer
Just like not signing anything from your employer’s TPA, you must never sign your name on something that an experienced attorney didn’t review. The case closes the moment you agree in writing to a settlement offer, and it won’t be possible to revisit it if you later decide you’re unhappy about the agreement.
Companies or their TPAs often push their luck, hoping you’ll accept a quick and absurdly low settlement offer. But you must understand your rights before signing anything and remember that you may get more than you expect, or more than they’re willing to offer just to call it a day.
Not Working With An Experienced Lawyer
Experienced attorneys know the laws by heart and how to convince the BWC that you deserve to benefit from your suffering. Yet, many employees refuse to consider hiring a lawyer for different reasons. They might think they don’t need one, they might need help finding one, or they might worry that they can’t afford specialised services.
While you can handle several cases independently, others can be managed better with the help of an attorney. They know your rights and conduct negotiations with your employer, their TPAs, and the BWC for your claim to succeed. After all, what’s a win for you is a win for them, too.Only a few cases go to court. Unless they’re complex enough, it makes more sense to settle the dispute out of court between your claim solicitor and your employer’s insurance company.