The workers’ compensation system protects injured employees from the financial consequences of job-related injuries. Ideally, a worker will file a claim and receive maximum benefits to pay for doctor visits, surgeries, and rehabilitation, as well as weekly compensation to cover missed wages. Failing to follow proper filing procedures will likely result in a denied claim and delayed payment. To ensure a successful workers’ compensation claim and timely disbursement of benefits, there are a few critical steps an injured worker must follow:
1. Report your injury immediately
It may feel uncomfortable to tell your employer you got hurt on the job, but doing so is critical for a successful workers’ compensation claim. It’s best to report your injury immediately, but California workers legally have 30 days from the date of an accident to inform management and file the proper forms.
2. Seek treatment from a doctor in your employer’s MPN
In California, you must see a doctor chosen by your employer if he or she has a medical provider network (MPN). That is, unless you pre-designated a physician before your accident. If you seek treatment from a doctor and not in your employer’s MPN, you may not be reimbursed for your medical expenses.
3. Tell every doctor and specialist about your work injury
You may feel like a broken record, but it’s important to inform every medical provider you see about your work injury. The insurance adjuster will look for discrepancies between your initial accident report and your medical records. If you fail to mention your injury happened at work to one or more of your providers, the carrier might try to deny your claim.
4. Follow your doctor’s orders exactly
Another key to a successful workers’ compensation claim is to remove any doubt an insurance adjuster might have about the extent of your injury. To do this, it’s important to follow your doctor’s orders exactly as prescribed. This may mean following up with a specialist, like a chiropractor, or scheduling diagnostic tests that have been ordered.
5. Don’t rely on advice from your employer or its insurance company
The days and weeks following a workplace injury are overwhelming and confusing. It may feel natural to turn to your employer for answers, but he or she might not have your best interests in mind. Your employer and their insurance company have a big financial incentive to stop paying your benefits and get you back to work as quickly as possible. For advice from someone who truly has your physical and financial well-being in mind, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Injured at work? Put your trust in a workers’ compensation lawyer at Gerald Brody
The workers’ compensation system is incredibly complex. While it’s possible to navigate it alone, a workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure the proper filing of your claim. At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, we have decades of collective experience helping injured workers receive maximum benefits and the best medical care available. If your claim is denied for any reason, we can also assist you in filing an appeal. Contact us today for a free case evaluation at (619) 528-9800.