It seems simple enough; you get hurt and work, and you get your medical bills paid by workers' comp. Unfortunately, things do not always work out like that. You must do your part and abide by the rules before you can expect to get approved for benefits. Read on for some tips on ensuring that your claim goes through without a hitch.
Get Medical Treatment
Your number one priority is to seek help from the nearest medical facility for your injury. You are allowed to use anyone you like for your initial treatment, and then you should find out how to handle any follow-up appointments and treatment from the workers' comp carrier. If you don't get treated by a medical professional, then you won't be getting any benefits, so do not skip this step.
Report and Claim
The next step is to report your injury to your direct supervisor as soon as possible unless they already know about it. Don't just assume that they will file a workers' comp claim form for you since the way this is handled varies from state to state. Ask them to file it for you or file it yourself and follow up to ensure that the form was received by the carrier.
Obey Work Restrictions
If any of the doctors treating you for your work-related injury puts you on a work restriction, then you have no choice but to abide by it. Returning to work too soon might cause you to lose your job or to void any further help from the insurance carrier. If, however, you have been cleared to return to work and are not physically ready to do so, take action and seek help from a workers' comp lawyer. You have the right to appeal rulings by the carrier, and it's important to follow the strict deadlines.
In most cases, you are allowed to move to a different doctor if you feel it's necessary for your health and healing. Be sure to check with the insurance carrier for the procedure since you might be responsible for any medical bills if the carrier does not approve the move.
Some workplace injuries leave permanent damage and will impact your ability to go back to work. If you have an injury that fails to adequately heal you may need to undergo a special kind of medical exam known as an independent medical exam. The results of this exam may show that you have a permanent disability which results in a lump sum payment from the insurance carrier and other benefits. Speak to a workers comp lawyer if you have been ruled to have a permanent injury or for any other denials of benefits.
For more information, contact your local workers' compensation attorney.