Workers Compensation

THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PROCESS

Kristi Reyes began experiencing a dull pain in her lower back. She initially attributed the pain to her bed mattress. That is, until the pain grew even stronger after she bought a new mattress. Eventually, Kristi concluded the repetitive lifting of boxes that weighed roughly 50 pounds at her workplace caused the dull pain, which has now morphed into acute lower back pain.

Kristi explored the workers’ compensation process and decided to pursue a claim against her employer. What exactly did Kristi have to do for her workers’ compensation claim to see the light of a legal day?

Receive a Medical Diagnosis

Kristi’s case required the immediate diagnosis of a physician. The fact that she waited long after the onset of the dull lower back pain could have hurt her workers’ compensation case. Many workers’ compensation cases involve workplace accidents that demand immediate medical care. If you suffer injuries from a workplace accident, you must receive immediate medical care to create the first in many stops along the workers’ compensation paper trail. Workers’ compensation policies typically include a clause that requires workers to seek immediate medical care. However, your employer might not be aware of the requirement, so make sure you own your workers’ compensation case by having your injuries diagnosed and treated by a health care facility.

Inform Your Employer

Every legally valid workers’ compensation policy includes a deadline that you have to meet for informing your employer about a workplace accident that leads to an injury or prolonged illness. For example, the State of New York requires workers to inform employers within 30 days of a workplace-related injury. However, you should inform your employer as soon as you suspect an illness or injury caused by an accident at work or a workplace environment. Remember to inform your employer in writing and make copies of the paperwork for potential legal proceedings. Your employer should have a workers’ compensation claim form that abides by state law.

Workers’ compensation claim forms should include the following information:

  • Type of injury
  • Severity of injury
  • Date and time of injury
  • Where in the workplace the injury occurred
  • The people involved in the accident
  • Detailed list of medical treatment received

Legal Responsibility of Your Employer

Your employer is required by state law to provide workers’ compensation coverage. Failure to provide workers’ compensation coverage results in fines, lawsuits, and criminal charges. Your employer cannot retaliate against you, if you pursue a workers’ compensation claim. In general, your employer has a strong incentive to comply with the state mandated workers’ compensation program. Employers file workers compensation claims with their insurance company and the state workers’ compensation board office.

After You File the Paperwork

Once you file workers’ compensation paperwork with your employer and the state workers’ comp board office, you have legally fulfilled your obligations. Nonetheless, you should continue to keep records as to how an injury or illness has adversely affected your personal and professional lives. Keep meticulous records of all expanses related to your workplace injury or illness. Most rejected workers’ compensation cases allow for an appeal under a process mandated by state law.

Seek the legal advice of a licensed employment law attorney to help you navigate the often complicated workers’ compensation process. Schedule a free initial consultation with a workers’ compensation specialist today to get the ball rolling on what typically involves a lengthy legal battle to get what you deserve under state law.

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