If you've been hurt at work, you must take action to get the benefits that you may be entitled to get. You can have your medical bills taken care of, and you may also have paid time off to get better from your injury or work-related illness. The longer you wait to seek benefits, however, the more likely it is that your claim could face problems. Read on to learn more.
Seek Medical Treatment: The sooner you take action, the sooner you can get benefits. As soon as you are injured or ill, seek medical treatment. Not only is getting prompt treatment for your medical condition good for your health in general, failure to seek treatment right away could make it appear to the workers' comp carrier that your condition is not severe enough to get coverage.
If you are reluctant to seek treatment because you feel the injury is not bad enough, you should keep in mind that even minor problems can worsen over time. For example, if you cut your hand on a piece of machinery at work, you may decide just to place a bandage on it and forego a trip to the doctor. In most cases, minor injuries like that heal without a problem and you don't need to miss work or apply for benefits. In some cases, however, that minor cut gets infected and you become very ill. No matter how much time has passed since the initial injury, seek medical attention and file a claim for benefits.
Inform Your Supervisor: Every state has different reporting procedures, and every state has its own workers' compensation board and rules. In most cases, you are expected to report your injury to your supervisor as soon as you can. Often, you can report by phone, in person, through a third person or other means. Just so you report, because the workers' compensation insurance carrier needs to see a report of the incident and usually it's the responsibility of your supervisor to submit that claim.
It's important to take action fast not just because you need the benefits, but because failure to inform your supervisor as soon as possible could make it appear to the carrier that your injury:
1. did not occur at work or from a work-related incident
2. was not serious enough to report
3. is not thought to be work-related by your supervisor
A Word About Cumulative Trauma: It can be difficult to take any of the above two important actions if you don't really understand that you have been hurt. Often, it can take some time for injuries to show up. If you use your hands and wrists a great deal in your work, for example, you may begin suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, you may have been exposed to a toxic substance that took some time to show its effects. No matter how long ago your initial exposure or injury began, take action as soon as you have a medical diagnosis.
If you are having problems with your workers' comp claim, speak to a workers' compensation attorney.