Workers’ Comp Claim – Your First Steps
A workers’ comp claim is pretty common. In fact, Florida has the third highest rate of work related accidents in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chances are that you or someone you know will have some sort of workplace accident in their lifetime. Many can be considered mild, like bumps and scratches, and may not need a doctors care.
Sometimes you may think an accident is not serious, but later find out that you have more serious injuries. You may slip and fall and think that you can just shake it off, but later start to feel soreness in your back and neck, or a tingling in your hands or legs. Because you never know how serious an accident is right away, it is important that you follow the correct procedures to file a claim with your employer. It is also important that you know your rights and what you need to do to ensure you are covered under workers’ comp insurance.
What to Do After A Workplace Accident
After an accident in the workplace, it is important for you to follow a few initial steps. This will help ensure a proper workers’ compensation claim can be filed.
Step 1 – Notify Your Employer
Contact your employer and notify them that an injury has occurred at the workplace. It is important to do this as soon as possible. In almost every case, you have 30 days to report your accident (or knowledge of an accident) to your employer. If you wait past 30 days, your claim will be considered late and will be denied (unless it is an occupational disease claim, in which you get 90 days as a special exception). If they are unavailable, leave them a message and follow up as soon as they are available to make sure that the proper paperwork is completed.
Step 2 – See a Doctor
Immediately ask your employer what doctor to see. Your employer will let you know what doctor you are authorized to see. This is a doctor that is covered by their workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer is unavailable and you need medical treatment right away, visit the closest emergency room or urgent care center. Remember to notify your employer of the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with documentation from the doctor or medical provider about your visit. Let them know about your current work status.
Step 3 – Keep Your Records
Make sure that you keep all of your paperwork, it will be vital in case you need to hire a lawyer. Keep any proof that you reported your injury, remember when, where and how. Keep all documentation from your employer – a copy of the Notice of Injury (if you got one from your employer), any witness statements (if there are any), doctor bills and reports, receipts and records of all out of pocket expenses, and photos if you have any.
Step 4 – Ask for Help
If at any point along the way you feel like you are not getting the help that you need, make sure that you ask for help. This can be in the form of asking your employer as to the status of your workers’ comp claim, or even contacting an attorney to get questions answered and find out of you need to be doing more to make sure that you are covered.
Do You Have a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Having a workplace accident can be a scary thing. If you are suffering from a work related injury, you could be facing significant medical bills. You could also be facing financial uncertainty because of your inability to work during your recovery. You can have medical expenses and others covered through your workers’ comp claim.
Remember there are time constraints for filing a workers’ comp claim. If you have a lost wages or medical claim it is critical to have someone looking out for you that knows the law. It is important to speak to an attorney, sooner rather than later. We have successfully represented hundreds of workers’ compensation cases throughout the North Florida area, and we are ready to help you as well.
An initial consultation with us is always free. If you decide to pursue legal action, we will work to assertively protect your interests and compassionately guide you through every stage of the legal process. We are here to help and be your advocate. Call us today to learn more.