When you're injured at work and need to take time off as a result, you may very well be entitled to workers compensation benefits, which can help cover your medical expenses in addition to your lost wages. In order to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible, however, there are some things every employee should know about what to do and what not to do following a workplace accident that results in injury.
DO Collect Necessary Documentation
Documentation is key when it comes to making sure that benefits are paid out correctly, so be sure to keep detailed records of everything pertaining to your medical bills and treatment, as well as your wages prior to the accident. Specifically, keep copies of:
- witness statements and incident reports
- copies of all medical bills (paid and unpaid)
- copies of your pay stubs/wage records from prior to the accident
- any correspondence with the insurance companies
DO Request Workers Compensation Benefits
Once it becomes evident that you won't be able to return to work anytime soon as a result of your injuries, it's time to formally request workers compensation benefits, which should be done in writing as soon as possible. If you don't begin to receive workers compensation benefits in the first couple weeks after your accident, you will need to file an official claim form through your state and seek guidance from a workers compensation attorney, like those at Zavodnick, Perlmutter & Boccia LLC, from that point forward.
DON'T Go to a "Company Doctor"
Sometimes, employers will try to get injured employees to visit a "company doctor" or "preferred doctor," but what many employees don't realize is that they have no obligation to do so. Always see your preferred doctor after a workplace injury so you can receive a fair and unbiased diagnosis of your injuries and get the treatment you need. After all, your "company doctor" is likely paid by your employer and may therefore be biased when it comes to your diagnosis and treatment.
DON'T Sign Releases or Discuss Your Case
Finally, don't be surprised if your employer's insurance company tries contacting you to obtain a statement or have you sign a release form. Never sign a release form without first consulting with your attorney, as doing so could result in you losing rights to your benefits. Furthermore, avoid discussing any of the details of your workers compensation case with anybody outside of your legal team and the insurance companies.