Dos and Don'ts of Filing a Workers Compensation Claim

Getting injured at work is not fun. Whether it's a slip and fall accident or an injury that you sustain when operating machinery, you are entitled to compensation by your employer. However, before the insurance company covers your medical bills and any other damages for the accident, you need to file a workers' compensation claim. Often, people make mistakes when filing this claim and these can cause them to miss out on what is entitled to them as compensation. To avoid this, here are some dos and don'ts that you should adhere to when filing a claim after a workplace-related injury.

Do see the doctor immediately

You need to see a doctor after a workplace injury so that you can receive treatment and also get documented proof of the injuries sustained. In most instances, the employer provides a designated medical provider that employees should see after getting injured at work.  There could be one or more designated healthcare providers, so make sure that you consult with the company. Failure to visit one of the approved providers can cause you to miss out on compensation. In this light, ensure that you also visit the physician immediately after the injury to dispel any doubts by the insurer regarding the severity of the accident. 

Do tell the physician everything

Many people are in the habit of downplaying their condition when visiting a doctor. After a workplace injury, this can cause you to be under-compensated for the accident. Make sure that you disclose everything about the accident to the doctor. Some conditions such as a broken arm or leg are evident after examination, but others are not. If you have suffered chronic headache, muscle pain, immobility, or even psychological trauma, don't fail to inform the doctor. This will ensure that the insurance pays for the entire cost of treatment.

Don't wait to file a claim

Safe Work Australia requires that you report a serious workplace injury, illness, or death within 48 hours after the incident. Even though you file a claim after the recommended period, it will still be processed. However, the case may be challenging as the insurer can contest a claim that is not reported immediately. If they win, you may be under-compensated with claims that the injury wasn't as severe as you indicated. Always file a written application immediately after a workplace injury. If you are seriously hurt and are hospitalized, you can have your lawyer do it on your behalf.

Finally, after filing a workers' compensation claim, you are likely to come across individuals who will ask you to sign a release of liability. Do not sign any documents presented by the employer or insurer without consulting a workers' compensation attorney.