Job injuries are far more common than most people imagine. Because there is no way to know when or how such an accident will occur, there is very little preparation that can be done. However, individuals can retain some critical points in the back of their minds in order to keep from making mistakes that could severely affect any future possibility of receiving compensation for negligence committed by another. Hopefully, the following four tips will help guide individuals who find themselves, unfortunately, stuck in the middle of a workplace injury and a workers’ compensation case.
1 – Report the Accident in a Timely Manner
Surprisingly, a great many people fail to report a workplace injury to their employer right away. Time limits are in place for filing workers’ compensation claims. Each state’s time frame may be different. It is crucial for an injured employee to report the accident within the proper period to qualify for benefits. A few exceptions exist, but for the most part, the quicker the injury is reported, the better it is for all concerned.
Due to the large number of false injury claims that take place yearly, employers may become suspicious of a delayed accident report. By reporting the injury quickly, an employee is less likely to have the injury’s integrity questioned.
2 – Disclose Previous Injuries
Victims of on-the-job accidents must remember to fully disclose all former work injuries. Whether the earlier accident seemed insignificant, or if it was never reported to management for fear of losing one’s job, the former accident still needs to be divulged now to prevent any future loss of compensation. As a matter of fact, failing to file an accident report on a previous injury can be construed as fraud. To avoid being penalized, possibly losing workers’ compensation funds, and even having to repay compensation already received, be sure to report any and all past job-related injuries.
3 – Inform the Doctor of Full Extent of Current Injuries
Upon being seen by a physician for a current workplace accident, fully disclose the extent of all injuries present. Rather than think that a painful leg is insignificant in light of a large head gash and a broken right arm, be sure to mention the leg as well. If an employee does not report all injuries, then brings another one up later, the employer could suspect that the worker is simply trying to get more compensation than he or she should. Adding additional injuries later can be construed as attempted fraud.
While some people might mistakenly think certain symptoms are unrelated to the accident, and fail to tell the doctor about them, any and all symptoms should be disclosed to the physician, regardless. Blurry vision, flu-like symptoms, stomach distress, and loss of motor function can indicate further injury from an accident, especially if a head injury or chemical exposure was involved.
4 – Return to Work When Able
When the doctor releases an injured employee to return to work, it is important that the worker does so. Sometimes, an employee is put into a lower-paying position upon return, but it is crucial that the offered position be accepted. Failure to do so can be deemed as a voluntary loss of income. In this case, any further benefits and compensation can be discontinued. Additionally, the employer can then terminate the injured employee for “refusal to work.”
Even if the returning employee feels he or she can’t perform the offered position’s duties, there is still an obligation to try. Then, after showing that the required duties are beyond the employee’s abilities and restrictions, he or she can inform the employer of the inability to perform in the new position’s capacity.
When Is an Attorney Necessary?
Due to the nature of work-related injuries and the resulting claims, prudent people typically choose to enlist the assistance of a legal professional. To effectively pursue proper compensation, a skilled attorney will need to gather evidence surrounding the incident, interview and take depositions from witnesses, arrange a separate medical exam, and hire expert witnesses. In addition, the attorney will also be dealing with insurance company representatives who do not have a vested interest in seeing the victim receive a fair amount of compensation.
The following list shows circumstances in which an injured employee is best served by having an attorney:
- A workers’ compensation claim is denied.
- The rating of permanent disability is disputed.
- There is a preexisting condition.
- The injured worker cannot get needed treatment.
- The victim’s ability to work is adversely affected.
- The injured worker receives other government benefits.
- There is an upcoming meeting with workers’ comp representatives.
Is the Expense of an Attorney Worth it?
Instead of charging their clients an hourly fee, workers’ compensation attorneys use a contingency fee method instead. This means the attorneys agree in advance to accept a percentage of the awarded benefits recovered for their clients through the claim. A number of states use varying percentage amounts to place a cap on the amount of the contingency fee that workers’ comp lawyers can receive. Generally, it is between 15 to 25 percent.
The fact remains that individuals who use the services of a highly qualified attorney are more likely to get a larger compensation amount awarded. Law training and an understanding of the legal system enable a skilled lawyer to effectively negotiate with big insurance companies, bring the right experts, and tenaciously pursue the full degree of benefits a victim deserves.
How to Pay Bills After a Workplace Injury
If you have filed or are looking to file a workplace injury lawsuit and are unable to work to earn income, The Legal Funding Group can help. Workplace lawsuits can put plaintiffs in difficult financial situations. During the time between when a claim is filed and when a settlement is paid, bills will continue to pile up. Plaintiffs who are finding it difficult to get by and cannot wait for the payout should consider legal funding.
There are options such as pre-settlement funding that will provide injured workers with a cash advance to help pay their medical bills, legal fees, and whatever other expenses that emerge. Contact The Legal Funding Group at (912)-777-3997 or fill out an online application. No credit check or financial history is required to be approved.