An injury in the workplace can cause many serious problems for you and the family members who rely on you. A workplace injury can disrupt your primary source of income, making it difficult to afford the costs of paying your monthly bills and supporting your family. It can prevent you from working in your professional field, sometimes just for a short time, but possibly on a long-term or permanent basis. Additionally, the costs of medical treatment for a workplace injury can be very expensive.
Workers’ compensation case law differs from state to state, and many cases are often hard fought by the insurance company to minimize the compensation you receive. The Alberhasky Law Firm will help you fight for the medical treatment and compensation to which you are entitled. When you need us most, we are here for you.
Know What Injuries Qualify
If you have suffered injuries in your professional work, it is important to know the qualifying and disqualifying factors for a workers’ compensation case. The following six items are the fundamental factors that make the difference in a workers’ compensation claim:
- A physical injury or accident that occurs due to or in the course of employment activities.
- A mental health illness that occurs due to or in the course of employment activities.
- The injury must occur in the workplace or in the course of employment activities outside the workplace as directed by your employer (for example, operating a vehicle for the company or conducting sales calls at a client’s office).
- The injury cannot have been caused intentionally by the worker.
- The injury cannot have been caused due to “horse play” with another person. Also, a penalty may be assessed against the employee for the violation of a written safety policy that caused the injury.
- The injury cannot have been caused because the employee was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Also, 25%-50% penalty may be assessed against the employee if a drug policy was violated by the injured employee, even if the drug violation did not cause the injury.
Take the Correct First Steps
If you have been injured on the job, the first step is the most important: request that appropriate medical care be authorized by the employer immediately. Inform your supervisor of the injury before seeking treatment if at all possible. When you are at the doctor receiving medical treatment, inform the medical personnel that the injury occured in the workplace, where in the workplace it occured, and explain the circumstances of the injury. Be clear and complete when explaining your injury, specifically identify every part of your body that has been affected by the injury.
As soon as possible, inform your immediate employment supervisor of the clear and complete details of the injury, in writing as well as verbally, just as you explained the injury to medical personnel. Include information about any witnesses who were present at the time of the injury, as well as any security footage or documentation that exists to support your claim. Make an immediate request for treatment when you provide this written notice of the injury.
If treatment is authorized, then you must see the doctors chosen by the employer unless you want to be personally responsible for the costs of medical care. If treatment is not authorized by the employer then you may seek medical care on your own and later ask a judge to reimburse you for the cost. But you must give the employer a “reasonable opportunity” to provide authorized medical care.
Seeing a Doctor
When you are seeing a doctor for treatment of your injury, it is important to realize that every medical document during the course of your treatment has the potential to be a legal document in your workers’ compensation case. Make sure that they are aware of all of the problem sand complains that you have from the injury, not just those that they specifically ask about.
Ensure You are Fully Reimbursed
Once it has been determined that your injury will be covered under your workers’ compensation claim, make sure that you are keeping track of everything that must be documented to ensure you will be properly compensated.
Gather documentation proving your weekly income from employment for 13 weeks prior to your injury, examples of this include pay stubs or a W-2 Wage and Tax Statement form. This will be the basis for your workers’ compensation lost wages benefits.
Gather documentation from every medical treatment you have undergone as a result of the injury. The cost of your authorized medical treatment will be covered under your workers’ compensation claim, but if treatment is not authorized you will need to make sure you are prepared to provide documentation of your expenses.
You will also want to prepare a list of medical providers that you saw in the 10 years prior to your injury, for any reason whatsoever. Your attorney will need this information to prove that you did not have a preexisting condition.
Keep a log of any mileage you traveled in your personal vehicle for trips to the doctor or therapist resulting from the workplace injury. This mileage is covered if it is more than 30 miles from your workplace, and will be reimbursed under your workers’ compensation claim.
Enlist The Alberhasky Law Firm to Protect Your Rights
When you are injured in the workplace, be sure that you and your family will be protected and fully compensated. Workers’ compensation attorneys from The Alberhasky Law Firm are here to fight for your rights as an American worker. Contact us today for more information about how we can help.