In most US states, you are required to notify the employer that you suffered an injury or you became ill in 30 to 40 days after the event happened. If you do not notify the employer, you usually end up denying the potential benefits offered by workers compensation.
The difficulty of the process appears because there are some states where your notification period available is much shorter. To protect yourself from this, you should notify the employer as soon as possible. This will then lead to the employer notifying the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. A report would then be filed and sent to the deciding board administering the workers’ compensation system of the state. Make sure to also notify the HR manager since this will help you a lot during the process.
After the insurance carrier is aware of the illness or injury, it is beneficial because it can start paying a part of your weekly income and the medical bills you have to deal with. The alternative though is that the carrier ends up rejecting the claim. If this happens, you want to appeal the carrier’s rejection with the workers’ compensation board of the state. Such appeals tend to be much more successful when there is an experienced personal injury workers’ compensation lawyer in your corner. When the appeal still fails, the court can be asked to review the decision.
After you figure out that you are ill or injured because of a workplace injury, it is very important to get medical care as soon as you can. This is vital for the compensation claim since you will have medical records available to be utilized as evidence of the injuries you suffered. When benefits are denied, those records will be the difference.
The problem is that in some US states, the insurer or the employer will be allowed to refer you to another doctor. This is for an IME (Independent Medical Examination) to be carried out. This is problematic because the insurers tend to select doctors that they have a working relationship with. You would thus end up with reports that will minimize how serious your illness or injury is. For instance, that doctor might try to identify the condition as being something you already had.
Generally, what is important is to be cooperative and honest. However, when these doctors ask you questions, be as brief as possible. Do not start mentioning the minor issues you are aware of and that affected the exact same body part that the work injury affected.
The last thing you should know is that in some states the impartial medical examination is actually required, not just optional. In this case, the chosen doctor is chosen from a specific list that the state sees as impartial specialists. Those that accept IME from the insurers are not placed on the last.
To sum up, in order to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, you need to go through a specific procedure. This is one of the main reasons why we need to have our personal injury lawyers in our corner to advise us on the best thing that can be done, regardless of the stage of the claim.