Workers Compensation 101: What to Do After You’ve Been Injured
You’ve been injured on the job. Maybe it was a specific accident that hurt your back. Or an overuse injury to your wrist due to the long-term repetitive motion your work requires. You may have hearing loss from constant loud noise in your work environment or burns from a chemical splash. Whatever the extent of the illness or injury that has arisen “out of and in the course of employment,” you are entitled to workers compensation benefits. You may even be eligible based on some stress-related (psychological) injuries.
Your workers compensation benefits may include the following, paid by your employer:
- Medical care
- Temporary disability payments (for wages lost during your recovery period)
- Permanent disability payments (for permanent loss of physical or mental function)
- Supplemental job displacement vouchers (for retraining or skill enhancement for those eligible for permanent disability benefits)
- Death benefits – payments to dependents if you die from job injury or illness
You are entitled to compensation regardless of who was at fault for your injury. You might even be eligible if you are a temporary employee, part-time worker, or an independent contractor. And you don’t have to be a legal resident of the United States to receive most workers’ compensation benefits.
You have a right to benefits if you are injured on the job.
Unfortunately, you may have to fight for the benefits you’re owed. At the Law Offices of Gerald D. Brody & Associates, we have more than 45 years of collective experience in representing injured workers and helping them get the maximum funds they’re entitled to.
What to Do
Your first line of defense is in taking the following steps as soon as you develop or discover a work-related medical problem:
Report the illness/injury to your employer: It’s important to inform your supervisor or someone in management as soon as you are hurt or you believe that a gradual illness or injury was caused by your job. Prompt reporting can make the difference between acceptance or denial of your claim.
Get emergency treatment if necessary: In emergency cases, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately. Be sure to inform the medical staff that your injury is job-related.
Fill out a claim form: Your employer is required to give you a Workers’ Compensation claim form (DWC 1) within one working day after you report your injury or illness. Read the instructions carefully and fill out the “employee” section. You will need to describe your injury in detail, including every part of your body that it has affected.
File the claim form: After you have made a copy, return the original form to your employer. This is called “filing the claim.” If you do so by mail, be sure to use first-class or certified mail, and request a return receipt. Within one working day, your employer must give or mail you a copy of the completed form with the “employer” section filled in. Keep this.
Seek quality medical care: It is important to get your medical care from a doctor who is experienced with injuries similar to yours. If you have followed the necessary steps for “pre-designating” a doctor prior to your illness or injury, you can see this pre-designated doctor for post-injury treatment. Otherwise, you may have to see a doctor chosen through the health care organization (HCO) contracted by your employer. Be sure to tell the doctor about your symptoms and the events at work that caused them. Describe your job and your work environment to the doctor as well.
It is important that you follow these steps in a timely manner. Delays in reporting and filing can cause delays in your benefits, or even denial of your benefits altogether.
Let us say it again
If you’ve been injured on the job, you have a right to workers’ compensation benefits.
And we’re here to help.
At the Law Offices of Gerald D. Brody & Associates, we make it our business to fight aggressively on behalf of injured workers. If your claim has been denied or if it seems to be taking longer than it should to receive your benefits, we can help. If you disagree with your primary treating physician’s report, we can help with that, too.
Do yourself a favor and give us a call.
We’ve been doing this for so long, we eat, sleep, and breathe workers’ compensation law. We can answer your questions and help you set things right. It’s important to us that you understand you don’t have to do this alone. We have the experience, the knowledge, and the passion to help you get the care you need and the maximum benefits you deserve.