After a work injury, if you are unable to return to the same position or even your previous job, it can be difficult for employees and their families. Workers' compensation is one way of helping injured workers after returning from an on-the-job accident. If you have never been through this process before, here's what you need to know, how it works, and protecting your health and finances along the way:
Report the Injury
The first step in filing a claim with Workers’ Compensation is reporting the accident. It should happen right away so that there isn't any confusion later on when exactly things happened (date/time). You will also want proof of the incident since insurance companies won’t likely take your word for it.
Seek Medical Attention
Sit down with your doctor within 24 hours of being injured to discuss the extent of the injuries. Ask what restrictions should be put in place immediately (i.e., no lifting more than 15 lbs.). Make sure that all medical bills are paid by the employer's insurance or worker compensation fund before paying out of pocket if possible. Get copies from doctors and keep track of which medications they prescribe as it may affect future surgeries etc.
Take pictures and keep all receipts from medical treatment or work equipment you may have to replace. You can also use note-taking apps for this purpose so that you don't miss any detail.
The medical treatment phase can be one of the most important parts of this entire claim since it will determine how long you are out of work. Thus, contacting an attorney early so that he or she can help make sure nothing falls through the cracks is crucial in these cases. The insurance company may not provide enough coverage to cover surgeries and other procedures right away so having someone who knows workers’ compensation laws on your side helps during this time.
Talk to an Attorney
Workers' compensation claims are not meant to be a full-time job. Thus, you need someone by your side who knows what they're doing. Going through this process for the first time without any guidance could leave you out on a limb when things go wrong. For instance, in case an insurance company denies coverage or underpays you after already accepting a settlement offer.
During this time, contacting the L&I Washington attorney early can help during this crucial phase in these cases. Once a settlement offer has been made by the insurer(s), many injured workers accept the settlement without thinking about long-term implications. This is why your attorney needs to make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions before you sign anything. This includes how much money will be coming in each month from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Also, any other benefits like VA disability if applicable. This can help cover some expenses since work injuries can sometimes result in job loss or a reduction in pay rate at work.
Talk to your Insurance Company
After the incident has happened, be sure not to speak with the insurance company until you've spoken with your lawyer first. The lawyer will give specific instructions on what should happen next. A claim is in progress once the employer's workers' compensation insurer gets involved in which they take over control as far as communications are concerned. If there is no attorney present during negotiations. Then it is very likely that the insurance company will try to pay you as little money as they can.
While it may seem like a lot to handle. with the right help in place, you can move forward knowing that everything possible was done to protect your health and financial stability after the injury.
Many people feel insecure after suffering from serious health issues due to their jobs. However, there are some simple actions we can all do immediately after something like this happens which help us recover. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, talk with your supervisor about what happened at the job site. Also, consider talking to an attorney who specializes in workplace injuries if needed for further recovery or compensation during this time of hardship. Don't be afraid to take one day at a time – you will eventually get through this!