Workers’ compensation insurance is meant to provide financial assistance to employees who are hurt on the job. However, valid claims for medical coverage and lost wages are often denied by the big insurance companies representing employers. If you have been injured at work, or you find yourself injured at work in the future, the following tips will help you protect yourself and help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
What To Do If You Are Injured At Work
- Report your accident. Let your employer know, in writing, what happened as soon as possible. In Virginia, you have 30 days to notify your supervisor, human resources, and company medical staff. State the date and time of the accident and the fact that you intend to seek workers’ compensation. Document the date you submitted the notice and save a copy for your own record.
- Seek immediate medical care. Even if you don’t think your injury will be that serious over time, seeing the doctor recommended by your employer is the best way to document the full extent of the injuries. Insurers can easily deny a claim that is not supported by medical documentation. Give a detailed explanation of your injuries to every doctor you see, including how your accident happened and how it affects your daily life. Their impartial testimony carries great weight in disputes. You may see your primary care physician or expert of choice in addition to the recommended provider for a second opinion.
- Follow the doctors’ orders. Maintain all appointments with your doctors, even if you are feeling better. The Workers’ Compensation Commission wants to see that you are working toward your recovery. Otherwise, your claim could be denied or discontinued. If you do not agree with the prescribed treatment protocol, you should request a hearing with the commission to switch doctors.
What Not to Do After A Work Injury
- Sign documents without an attorney. If you sign any settlement papers, you risk losing the right to revisit your claim if the injury fails to heal or if your costs exceed the amount you received. Once you agree that you have reached “medical maximum improvement,” you may not be able to go back and change the amount of benefits you receive. Insurance companies will act in their own best interests, not yours, so it’s a good idea to have your own legal advocate who will ensure that your rights are protected.
- Return to work before physically able. To save money, insurers will sometimes ask employers to make accommodations to your job requirements that will allow you to work in some capacity as you recover. However, you should not have to return to work before you are physically able. Request a description of the new duties proposed by your employer and share it with your doctor before you agree to perform them. If you do feel well enough to work and your doctor decides that you are ready, contact your employer to ensure that they understand your abilities as well as your limitations upon return. If your injury forces you to take on a new role that pays less than you previously earned, you may be eligible for reduced-earnings benefits, vocational training, or job placement services.
- Post on social media. Social media is a common area of investigation for insurance companies and their attorneys. Even a simple statement such as “I’m feeling better today” could be used to diminish the extent of your injuries. Pictures of you at a particular location or engaged in certain activities can be used to argue against the severity of your injuries as well. Avoid posts about taking a vacation, going to the gym, participating in sports, lifting objects, or undergoing medical treatments. Avoid approving friend requests until your claim is no longer pending, as these people could work for the insurance company.
Get A Free Consultation from Experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
When you are injured at work, your employer is no longer calling the shots; your employer’s big insurance company is. Rutter Mills has the size, strength, experience, and reputation to win the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. We have helped thousands of working men and women obtain full and fair workers’ compensation benefits. Our team works with individuals at any point in a workers’ compensation claim, whether you were recently injured, denied, or recently settled. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to explore your options.