Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance that provides benefits for people who have been injured on the job. Ideally, when an employee is injured, filing a claim and receiving compensation for medical expenses and lost wages is cut and dry – and in the best cases, it is. However, the best case is seldom the actual case and many claims are delayed or ultimately denied due to minor mistakes made during the filing process.
Injured workers need monetary relief fast. Even the slightest delay can have profound consequences in terms of economic hardship. Working with a workers’ comp lawyer is one of the surest ways to avoid common claim mistakes and get the compensation that you need in the shortest amount of time possible. However, even an attorney cannot help you avoid all of the pitfalls that can delay benefits or see a claim denied.
Common Workers’ Compensation Claim Mistakes
The biggest mistakes you can make is not reporting your accident or illness. If there is no report, there is no incident as far as workers’ comp is concerned, and no reason to supply benefits. You have 90 days to notify your employer in writing of the accident and subsequent injuries. This is a great time to tell your employer that you plan on filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Your employer will provide you with a list of doctors you can go to for a thorough evaluation of your injury and limitations. Failure to visit a doctor approved by your employer or failure to see a doctor at all will likely result in a denial of any benefits you are trying to claim.
It is absolutely acceptable to get a second opinion from another doctor on the list your employer supplies you with, but you must choose from the preselected options you are provided to qualify for workers’ comp.
Once you have your diagnosis, it is time to file your claim. Believe it or not, one of the biggest mistakes made when filing for workers compensation is failing to actually file your claim. Nothing is automatic with this process. You will need to download and complete all workers’ comp forms from the Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations. Failure to complete these forms correctly (or at all) will result in a delay or denial of benefits.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys know exactly what the MDL is looking for on these forms. We can help you fill your form out to avoid common mistakes and omissions that often result in a denial of benefits.
If you are able to return to work under limited capacity, accept the work you are offered by your employer. Failure to accept lighter duties, approved by your doctor and offered by your employer, may result in discontinuation or denial of benefits. If you can work and your doctor has approved it, you are required to return in your new capacity until such time as you can resume all normal duties.
If you are offered a new position by your employer while on workers’ compensation, ask for a description in writing and show it to your doctor. You are only required to take on those duties that will not interfere with your recovery.
There are so many things that can go wrong when filing a workers’ compensation claim. Our attorneys are here to help you avoid those pitfalls and to get your benefits as quickly as possible. Call Brown & Brown at 314-333-3333 in Missouri or 618-888-8888 in Illinois to schedule a complimentary consultation and learn more.