Common mistakes people make when they have a work injury.
The most common is actually failure to report it right away. That’s a big one. Insurance companies take any delay in reporting to deny claims, so if you’re hurt at work, I highly recommend you report it right away.
Another mistake people make is not getting medical treatment right away.
When someone doesn’t go to get medical treatment right after a work injury, the insurance company questions the veracity of the injury, the severity of the injury. So even if you think your injury isn’t that bad, it’s always good to go to the doctor, have it documented. If it’s better tomorrow, that’s great! But if it continues to get progressively worse, you’ve at least documented the onset and history.
Don’t call out of work without a medical reason.
Another common mistake someone might make in a workers compensation case when they have an injury is to just call out of work and not have a medical excuse for being out of work. It is very difficult to receive workers compensation benefits for any period of time you’re out of work without medical authorization. So if you’re going to have to miss work, you’re going to want to go to a doctor and ask for a note taking you out of work.
Follow up after you report the claim to your employer.
One of the common mistakes I see is that people think that by telling their employer that they have a claim, that by reporting a claim, that they’ve filed for workers compensation. That’s not in fact true. Reporting the claim is one of the important steps, but if your claim is not acknowledged or accepted in a timely fashion you actually have to file a claim petition. If you don’t file the claim petition, the litigation doesn’t proceed forward, your case just kind of sits and stagnates, and nothing happens.
Get help when filing a claim petition
I do occasionally have a client come to me who has filed a claim petition on their own, and they generally make some errors in the claim petition itself. It’s difficult for me to identify which ones they are, because they vary a lot from case to case, but really an attorney who is experienced in filing should be able to pull all the information, and put the pertinent information into a claim petition and file it properly the first time.
The advice offered above is general in nature and may not be applicable to every case. Consultation with an attorney is highly recommended. Reliance on this advice does not represent the formation of an attorney-client relationship in the absence of a fee agreement with Mr. Hillsberg.