All of the above rules and items are very important for improving your chances of your workers’ compensation claim. In summary, however, here is a look at a few best practices for improving the chances of your workers’ compensation claim for benefits being approved.
- Remain polite and professional in discussions with your employer, insurance carrier, doctor, and Administrative Law Judge. When you have been injured on the job and your life, body, and finances are on the line, there is no doubt that you are emotional, and perhaps even angry. However, regardless of what you are feeling, it is important that you handle all interactions as calmly, politely, and professionally as possible. If you attend a workers’ compensation hearing, you should dress professionally, look the Administrative Law Judge in the eye, and remain respectful. Furthermore, never threaten an employer or insurance company; even if the parties are in the wrong and are denying you benefits to which you believe you are legally entitled. If you live in Phoenix, simply call a Phoenix workers comp attorney and he/she will be able to handle matters on your behalf.
- Refrain from discussing your claim with others. Resist the urge to discuss your claim with everyone you know, especially on any online forums. In fact, discussing your claim on social media can harm your claim. Best practices after a workplace accident include refraining from social media use at all. This is because any pictures, status updates, or location updates that imply that you are happy and healthy can undermine your claim. For example, if you are claiming compensation for a broken arm but post a picture of you tossing the ball with your kids, your injuries may not seem valid.
- Be proactive. No one is going to file your claim and make sure that you get paid but you; it is your responsibility to handle your workers’ compensation claim yourself, or hire an attorney to represent you. If you do not file your claim on time, submit the right evidence, appeal within the required time frame, etc. there is no one to blame but you. Be proactive about recovering compensation for your injuries and making sure that your claim is handled appropriately.
- Do not sign anything that you do not understand. You may be asked to sign a variety of forms during the workers’ compensation claims process. For example, the workers’ compensation insurer may ask to to sign a medical authorization release so that the insurer can gain access to your medical records. While this may be necessary for moving your workers’ compensation claim forward, you should not sign anything until it has been thoroughly reviewed. You should also not accept a workers’ compensation settlement offer–or a settlement offer if you decide to file a third party liability claim for benefits–until you are sure that the settlement fully covers the extent of your damages. Once you sign and accept an offer, you are releasing your rights to pursue your claim any further or seek further damages.
- Take diligent notes. As soon as your accident occurs, you should begin to take thorough notes. These notes should include exactly when and where your accident occurred, as well as exactly what you were doing when the accident happened. You should also include names and information for any persons who witnessed your accident and may be able to testify on your behalf at a later date. Be sure to record all dates and times of your medical appointments, as well as any treatments that you receive. Finally, make notes about how you feel – are you in pain? Do you feel depressed? Are you able to do the things you were before? Are your injuries healing? How have your daily activities been affected by your workplace accident? The more thorough notes that you have, the more you will be able to share with the appropriate parties during the recovery process.
Filing a claim for workers’ compensation insurance is incredibly important, and can help you to recover the benefits that you are legally entitled to when you have been injured on the job. If you have further questions about the workers’ compensation benefits recovery process, do not hesitate to call a Phoenix workers’ compensation lawyer.