A successful workers’ compensation claim can result in you collecting payments for vital medical treatment. In addition, a workers’ comp claim could allow you to collect compensation for any time that you miss at work while recovering from your injury.
However, it is important to remember that the insurance companies which administer these policies are out to make a profit. As such, they often seek to find any excuse they can to deny a claim, even if it appears to be valid.
With the assistance of a well-versed attorney, you may be giving yourself a great chance at filing a successful claim. These common mistakes to avoid when making a Boston workers’ compensation claim can boost your chances of collecting the compensation that you deserve.
Do Not Keep the Injury to Yourself
Employers and insurance companies carry much of the legal burden following a workplace accident. As soon as an employer learns of the accident, they must submit a notice to their insurance company and the Department of Industrial Accidents. This notice begins the claims process.
However, employers and insurance companies are not clairvoyant. Workers have a duty to inform their supervisors of their injury as soon as possible. This notice should be in writing so that there can be no doubt that the employee provided it. Even if a worker needs to be rushed to the hospital, he or she should arrange for family members or an attorney to deliver the message to your workplace.
If your employer or supervisor refuse to fill out an accident report, then the injured worker should document the work accident by sending a letter, memo or even an email, so that the worker has proof that he or she reported the accident. For more information on the mistakes to avoid when making a Boston workers’ compensation claim, get in touch with an experienced attorney.
Do Not Feel Rushed to Return to Work
One common tactic that insurance companies use to avoid paying claims is to tell the employee to return to work. Massachusetts law says that the payment of weekly workers’ comp lost wage benefits can only happen once an employee misses more than five days at work. While these days do not need to be consecutive, they do all need to be caused by the injury.
If a claimant does return to work, even at a limited capacity, the insurance company can stop the weekly workers compensation checks since the employee is working and getting paid by the employer. The employer may look for an opportunity to fire the injured worker or lay them off. The employee could end up with no workers comp and no job.
Be Sure to Attend All Medical Appointments
The doctor who treats a workplace injury or illness plays two roles. The first role is to bring the injured employee to a maximum level of medical improvement. The second role is to evaluate the permanent effect the injury has had on the worker’s ability to return to his or her job.
In cases where an employee suffers a permanent loss of working capacity, that doctor’s opinion regarding his or her residual work capacity could play a key role in the insurance company’s decision. Any lump sum settlement that is offered by the insurance company would be based in part on this report.
If a patient skips an appointment or stops going altogether, the insurance adjuster may assume that the worker is not as injured as the claim. The insurance adjuster could use the worker’s failure to attend scheduled medical appointments as the basis for stopping the weekly workers comp checks. Considering that all appointments should be paid for by the insurance company and you need the treatment to recover from your work injury, there is no reason not to attend.
Consult with a Boston Workers’ Comp Attorney Before Filing a Claim
Workers’ compensation claims can be more complex than they first appear. While you should only need to report the injury to your supervisor to begin the process, following up with doctors and taking all the time you need off from work to make a recovery could be essential to your claim’s success.
An attorney familiar with workers’ compensation claims may be able to help you understand your rights under Massachusetts law, file workers comp claims when appropriate, and recognize mistakes to avoid when making a Boston workers’ compensation claim. Call today to learn more.