Did you know that just more than three million people received injuries or illnesses at their jobs every year? Sadly, not even half of these individuals file workers’ compensation claims, and even fewer are actually awarded what they need.
If you receive an injury at work or someone you love died on the job, you should know the workers’ compensation process. This is the lifecycle.
After your injury
As soon as you can, but after you receive medical treatment, file a report with your employer about your accident and injury. Then, your employer should guide you through writing your claim. Those who report their claims and injuries right away tend to receive better results.
Next, a claims adjuster or case manager reviews and investigates your case. This individual may contact you about the injury, your medical treatment and the company’s preferred medical providers. Ask about lost wages and medical bill payments as well as a plan to return to work.
If the insurance company decides to accept liability for your claim, it creates an account or reserve where it will hold the money the adjuster thinks your claim may be worth based on your medical records and other similar injuries.
If the company denies your claim, you can file a petition or appeal. You and the insurance company both collect important information, including your initial report, witness statements, medical bills and other documents to support your cases.
Once the discovery process is complete, your insurance company should begin negotiations. If you cannot reach a settlement agreement, you may schedule a formal hearing or trial, where you show your evidence to a judge.
Remember that workers’ compensation is not automatically given to you. Prepare to file and fight for what you deserve and need.