How to Build a Strong Workers’ Comp Case
If you get hurt on the job in California, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, the process is not so simple. There are pitfalls that can lead a worker to lose out on benefits to which they should have been entitled for purely technical reasons. The stronger you build your case from the outset, the more comprehensive your benefits are likely to be, and the better your position will be should you have to challenge the decision of an insurer or your employer. Continue reading for tips on building a strong workers’ comp case, and if you’ve been hurt on the job, get help filing your claims from a seasoned California workplace injury attorney.
Get Medical Attention Immediately
One of the most important factors in building a strong workers’ comp claim is getting prompt medical care. If your supervisor wants to call an ambulance, take it. If you leave under your own power, go straight to the doctor. If you wait too long to get treatment, you risk your claim being denied. You also risk the insurer trying to claim that your injury resulted from something other than the workplace accident and denying your claim or reducing your benefits.
Report the Accident
Make sure to report the accident to your supervisor or Human Resources promptly. Waiting to report an injury can delay your medical treatment or give grounds to deny your claim entirely. You have a short window to report the injury. Do not worry about how the accident occurred, or even if you were to blame; you are covered by workers’ comp regardless, and it is more important to get your coverage than to try to sweep an accident under the rug.
Follow Doctor Recommendations
If your physician recommends that you take it easy, do so. Avoid sports and other labor-intensive behavior. If your employer or the workers’ comp insurance provider finds out that you have been playing tennis on the weekend after being put on bed rest, even if you are truly injured and are just trying to push through the pain, they may reduce or reject your workers’ comp claims.
Be Wary of Social Media and Private Investigation
Once you file your claim, insurers and employers will be on the hunt for reasons to deny or limit your coverage. As noted, if they catch you playing basketball after an alleged knee injury, they might deny your claim. Be careful with anything you post on social media–statements and pictures can be taken out of context to downplay your injuries. More alarming, many insurers will hire private investigators to follow claimants to ensure they are actually injured. Be careful with what you do in public that might be construed as evidence against the severity of your injuries.
Keep Copies of Everything
When dealing with any sort of legal claim, it is important to keep a comprehensive and detailed record. You never know what piece of paper could turn into key evidence down the line. Keep copies of your medical records, medical bills, communications with the insurance provider and your employer, notices about work restrictions, and forms such as accident reports. Some documents like work restriction slips might not wind up in your medical records, meaning you will need to provide them yourself. If you end up challenging the workers’ comp determination down the line, the more evidence you have and can provide your lawyer, the better.
Attend All Meetings, Examinations, Legal Proceedings, and Appointments
You may have to jump through various hoops to get your benefits. You might have to undergo an independent medical examination (IME) to evaluate your ability to work, and you could have to appear at hearings, mediation sessions, settlement conferences, and other proceedings. If you are told to be somewhere as part of your workers’ comp claim, be there. If your attorney is appearing on your behalf, of course, then you do not need to be present. But make sure you know when and where you need to be, and what, if anything, you should do to prepare. For example, in advance of your IME, make sure to review your medical records in advance and consider what questions the IME physician may ask that could lead to a reduction of benefits.
EXPERIENCED ADVICE AND REPRESENTATION FROM THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEYS AT INVICTUS LAW
If you have a claim for workers’ compensation in California and want to make sure you get the maximum coverage available, call Invictus Law today at 949-287-5711 and speak with a dedicated California workers’ compensation attorney to evaluate your claim.