Regardless of the industry in which you earn your living, your employer must provide workers' compensation insurance coverage. This program aims to provide both you and your employer with protection. While you can claim benefits for any workplace injury -- even one that you caused -- you may not file a lawsuit against your employer. Exceptions exist for cases in which your employer's gross negligence harmed you.
Knowing that you will receive benefits that will protect your financial stability in the event of an occupational injury or illness will likely provide peace of mind. However, it is essential to follow the necessary steps to ensure maximum workers' compensation benefits.
Where to start?
The steps you take from the moment you suffer an on-the-job injury will determine the outcome of your benefits claim. By following these procedures, you may limit the financial impact of the incident:
- File a report with your employer -- The first step is to report the injury to your employer or another authority at your workplace. If the nature of your injury required immediate care at an emergency room, you must file a report as soon as possible. You cannot proceed with your workers' compensation claim without first filing a report with your boss.
- Inform the doctors -- Make sure that every provider of health care knows how and where your injury occurred. If these details form part of the medical reports, it will improve your chances of receiving workers' compensation benefits promptly.
- Keep your own records -- You can further benefit your case by keeping written records of the course of events -- including the cause of the accident and all the subsequent steps. You can note what happened along with the names of co-workers and other witnesses. Also stipulate the doctor's name, the date and location of the treatment and any advice or instructions the doctor gave. You could even take photos of the injury you suffered while working, followed up by more photographs during the healing period.
- File your claim -- Your employer should provide the necessary forms you need to complete for filing a workers' compensation claim. Take note that there are deadlines for filing these claims. Honesty on the forms is vital, as false reports may lead to a rejected claim.
Where can you turn for support and assistance?
Having experienced legal counsel can be beneficial because your employer and the insurance company may not have your best interests at heart. Your legal representative can explain your rights and assist with the navigation of the administrative and legal proceedings toward an outcome that may provide maximum benefits to help ensure your financial stability during these times.