Following an injury at work, you may have some questions about whether you really wish to move forward with filing a compensation claim, and it's important to know how much time you have before things get serious. You should be aware that it's important to begin documenting everything as early as possible. Even if you have doubts about how likely you are to pursue a claim, it's wise to ask for a consultation with a workers compensation attorney and get some more information about how the system operates.
Your first goal should be to seek medical attention after an injury, but once you're in a position to file an incident report, you should do so as quickly as possible. In most states, you'll have between one and three years from the date of the injury to actually submit a full claim. Notification to your employer of an injury, however, should be sent within 30 days of the actual incident. You have the balance between 30 days and the period within the statute of limitations to decide whether you'll pursue a full claim.
After you have decided to move forward with a case, you'll need to submit a Claim Form to your employer. It's wise to hire a workers comp attorney to assist you once you've arrived at this part of the process. The employer will then have 14 days to respond with an acceptance, a rejection or a delay. Most employers will file paperwork with the state's workers compensation board and their insurer, and they'll usually proceed according to the advice of their insurer.
You may go to a doctor of your own choice on your dime, but your employer has the right to send you to any physician of their choosing who has been approved to handle workers compensation cases. Workers are expected to undergo examinations by the employer's choice of doctor within 30 days of the time the Claim Form is submitted.
If a claim is not denied within 90 days, it is presumed to be compensable, and your employer will be barred from presenting evidence to the contrary. Should they elect to deny your claim in a timely manner, you still have the right to a full review of your case by an administrative law judge. You and your employer will then be expected to present evidence and testimony at a hearing.