What you do in the days and weeks following an accident at work or the diagnosis of a work-related injury or illness can have a significant impact on your workers’ compensation claim. Here are 10 tips on what you can do to maximize the chance you will receive the workers’ comp benefits you deserve:
1. Seek emergency medical care.
If you need immediate medical attention for a work injury, you should get to the nearest emergency or urgent care facility as soon as possible. Let the medical care provider know that your injury happened at work and how it occurred.
2. Report your injuries promptly.
In Oklahoma, you are required to report your injury to your employer within 30 days or you may lose your right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. But even though you have 30 days, it’s best to notify your employer as soon as possible. If you miss this deadline, the insurance company could reject your workers’ compensation claim. Quick notification also allows you to start the process of filing your claim for benefits.
3. File your workers’ comp claim.
A workers’ compensation claim must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Court within two years from the date of the injury or death, or within two years from the date of payment of any compensation or wages in lieu of compensation, or within two years of authorized medical care. For repetitive injuries, the two-year period runs from the date on which the employee was last employed. Any claims filed after this two-year period will be rejected and the claimant will not be awarded benefits.
4. Follow up on your claim.
After you file a claim, your employer’s insurance company will investigate to determine if it will accept or deny the claim. The law requires that they decide whether to approve or deny your claim within 15 days from the date the claim was submitted. However, this does not mean that you will find out within 15 days from the date the injury was sustained. Your employer has 10 days to notify the insurance company, and the 15-day window does not begin until your employer has completed this step. If the claim is complex, the insurance company may ask for an additional 15 days so they can conduct a more thorough review of the case. If you have not heard from your employer or the insurer within that time period, be sure to follow up.
5. Get follow-up medical care.
If your work-related injury or illness requires follow-up or ongoing medical care, be sure not to miss an appointment. If you don’t follow medical advice, you may not be compensated for your medical treatment.
6. Follow your doctor’s orders.
Your physician may make a number of recommendations regarding your treatment. If you want to maximize your workers’ compensation benefits, make sure you follow your doctor’s orders. Failing to follow your doctor’s orders could affect your right to workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if you miss two or more scheduled appointments with your doctor, you may no longer be eligible for benefits. Refusing to undergo surgery that has been recommended by at least two doctors can also affect your benefits. If you refuse this treatment, the Workers’ Compensation Commission will take this into consideration when deciding how much compensation you should receive for your injuries.
7. Be honest.
You should never make any false or misleading statements to the doctor, your employer, or the insurance company that is handling your claim. Don’t exaggerate the symptoms that you are experiencing or lie about how you sustained the injury. The truth will always come out, and even a small fib could affect your ability to recover the benefits that you deserve. When it comes to workers’ compensation cases, honesty is the best policy.
8. Be careful what you sign.
While you should cooperate with your employer’s insurance company in providing medical records and invoices associated with your injury or illness, be sure that any medical release form you sign is limited to your claim rather than granting access to your entire medical history.
9. Keep detailed records.
Be sure to keep all paperwork concerning your workers’ comp claim, including correspondence from your employer and the insurance company, accident reports, work restriction slips, and any other records pertaining to your work-related injury. Many of these records will be essential in getting your claim approved.
10. Consult a workers’ compensation attorney.
Consulting with an Oklahoma workers’ compensation attorney can increase your chances of securing the benefits you deserve. An experienced attorney will know how to deal with the insurance company and overcome the obstacles that may arise in a workers’ compensation claim. If you want to obtain every dollar of compensation you deserve, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation immediately after suffering an on-the-job injury.
Have you been injured at work? Don’t hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. Let our team stand by your side throughout the workers’ compensation claim process to ensure you are fully compensated for your work-related injuries. Call us at (918) 582-2500 or toll-free at (800) 722-8880 or complete the simple form below for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.