In Florida, over 50,000 workmans’ comp claims were filed in 2018. T $20,000.
Workers in all fifty states are entitled to this form of compensation if they incur injuries or health-related issues in the workplace. The settlements cater for expenses such as medical bills and the loss of income due to inability to continue working.
However, the process of filling a compensation claim is not straightforward. The process may be confusing and often involves many parties. Many eligible workers loses their claims due to small errors.
While making your compensation claim, here are some of the mistakes that you should avoid to get the full value of your settlement.
1. Not Notifying Your Employer
The claiming process cannot begin if your employer is unaware of your injury. It is imperative that you notify your supervisor about any injuries and accidents as soon as they happen. This opens investigation into the injury while the event is still fresh.
In Florida, the notification period is limited to 30days. If you are eligible for wages compensation, the benefits are dated back to the first day of injury, which is the date that you reported the injury.
Some workers feel reluctant to report injuries when it’s their fault, fearing that they will not be compensated and will be subjected to disciplinary action. This is not true. It is your employer’s duty to provide a safe workplace for all employees.
2. Making Mistakes on the Claim Forms
During the claiming process, you will be required to provide substantial information regarding your duties as a worker and the details leading to the injury. You will be required to fill out some forms and answer questions to convey this information.
It is crucial that the information provided is accurate and consistent. Get all the facts right in case there is a need for proof. Do not give out false information, even if it helps your case.
If your employer or insurer detects a hint of dishonesty, the entire claim could be dismissed as a fraud. This includes incorrect minor details like dates, time, and the account of events.
3. Claiming Without a Lawyer
Don’t sign any papers without having an experienced personal injury lawyer look at the documents first. Remember, your employer wants to make the lowest settlement possible. It is your duty to determine whether the settlement is sufficient.
A lawyer makes sure that every detail is correctly documented and your demands are met. Some of these details are hidden in corporate jargon that may be difficult to spot with an untrained eye.
Once having settled, it is difficult and most times impossible to appeal if you later feel that justice was not done. Many injury victims have ended up settling for the wrong benefits package because they couldn’t read between the lines.
Lawyers only take a small percentage of the settlement as payment, so you don’t have to worry about high legal fees. The small extra expense is worth the expert guidance and advice provided by a lawyer.
4. Ignoring Deadlines
Do not slack off on your duty to carry out the process in a timely manner. Claiming compensation for injuries is a serious legal process requires distinct and coherent set of steps.
For example, failing to meet deadlines and submitting documents late could hurt the success of your claim. Being the one seeking justice, you should always be on your toes to make sure everything runs smoothly during the entire process.
If you are not in a pposition to carry out some tasks, have someone else do them for you. An attorney, for instance, may help in keeping up with the deadlines.
5. Failing to Seek Medical Attention on Time
You must seek medical attention for injuries immediately after an accident occurs. The doctor is considered impartial; if a dispute arises in the case, the medical report carries more evidential weight.
Don’t be vague with the doctor. Explain everything from how the accident happened to how you feel. From the information you give, the doctor will decide on the most effective treatment and make appropriate recommendations.
The doctor will also run the relevant test and examinations just to make sure that the injury has no additional health repercussion. This is useful in assessing the full extent of the injury and preparing for any long-term effects.
If you delay or fail to seek medical care, your employer may argue that the injury wasn’t serious. This may be a reason to ignore or underrate your claim.
6. Going to the Wrong Doctor
For the purpose of workers’ compensations, you should only seek medical care from the employer’s approved medical practitioner. The doctor must be authorized or endorsed by the employer or insurer.
The employer will normally have a list of facilities where employees get sponsored medical treatment. Your claim may be nullified if the medical report came from an unapproved doctor.
7. Failing to Request a Second Opinion
If the company’s doctor does not convince you, you can always seek a second opinion.
In some cases, the company doctor may only serve the employer’s interest, not yours. If you feel that the service is sub-standard or your condition has been belittled, consult a different doctor.
8. Ignoring Doctor’s Orders
Many patients make the mistake of not following the doctor’s order. Stick to the recovery regiment, take all the medications as prescribed, and follow up on checkups as recommended.
The doctor is the specialist here and knows what is best for your condition.
Any missed appointments or other deviations from the doctor’s instructions are usually logged in the doctor’s report. The compensation board can use this information to dismiss your claim. Unless you have a very good reason for refusing the doctor’s orders, follow them to the letter.
Besides, ignoring the doctor’s expert recommendations may worsen your injuries or other health conditions.
9. Relying on Other Benefits
Your employer may insist that you take other forms of compensation instead of filing for workers’ comp after an injury. This is a pitfall for many workers.
The employer may try to convince you to use health insurance to cover for medical expenses. Some employers may go as far as to take money out of their pockets to serve as compensation. Employers do this to either cover up the accident story or to avoid the expensive process of settlement.
The truth is, no other form of compensation is more beneficial to you than the workers’ comp.
Health insurance, for instance, co-pays and only covers for medical treatment and drugs. You don’t get compensated for the days you miss work, and you still pay for your upkeep and transport to the doctor.
Worker’s comp makes sure that all your needs are covered, not just medical fees. Don’t buy your employer’s advice to settle for anything less.
10. Returning to Work Too Soon or Too Late
The recovery period is usually a dull and boring time for most patients. You may feel confident and ready to go back to work before your injury is completely healed. However, that could be a fatal mistake.
If you have not fully recovered, don’t return to work. The injury could get worse, and the employer may be reluctant to pay any extra medical expenses.
Take your time, even if the doctor gives you the green light to return to work when you don’t feel ready and capable.
Plus, once you return to work, your wages compensation is terminated. You might actually find yourself earning less than you would have if you stayed at home.
Once you have fully recovered, it’s okay to return to work. Ask your employer for your job back or other positions with equal or more pay. Let the employer know of any special accommodations or needs you might have as a result of the injury.
In case you can’t return to your previous position or workplace, ask for vocational training as part of the compensation package.
How soon you return to work could determine your final compensation settlement.
Make Your Workmans’ Comp Claim
The process of making a workmans’ comp claim can often be tricky. Even when the injury is obvious, there is still a lot that could go wrong, and you could end up under-compensated or dismissed altogether. With some basic knowledge of the process and learning which mistakes to avoid, you could find your way towards a reasonable compensation.
Don’t agonize over your work-related injuries; it is your right to claim compensation.
If you are having trouble making your claim or don’t want to take any chances, you need to find a lawyer. Contact us today and rest assured that your legal rights and demands will be met promptly. We specialize in personal injury claims and have been serving the deserving residents of Florida since 1983.