Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Boston Workers’ Compensation Claim
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. En Español.
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.
Failing to Report Your Injury
One of the first mistakes to avoid in a Wakefield workers’ compensation claim is failing to notify an employer of the injury. State law requires employees to notify an employer or supervisor in writing of the workplace injury as soon as possible. An employee needs to document the injury to protect their rights going forward. Failing to notify an employer of an injury could prove disastrous towards any attempt at recovering compensation for damages.
Failing to Receive Medical Treatment
For many workers, the thought of missing work to recover from an injury is terrifying. Medical treatments are often costly, and time away from work usually means time without a paycheck. Failing to receive necessary medical treatment can compound those problems. If an injury goes untreated, it can cause the condition to worsen.
The failure to seek medical treatment promptly could also affect a worker’s ability to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. Without documentation of any injury, it is impossible to proceed through the claims process.
Depending on Other Benefits
Some employers may pressure an employee to not file a workers’ compensation claim and rely on other benefits during their time away from work. These benefits could include private health or private short term or long term disability benefits. However, these benefits rarely provide the coverage that a workers’ compensation claim would provide. For example, health insurance may not cover transportation to the doctor and other services which may require co-pays. Plus, these benefits are very limited and do not provide the injured worker with the legal and financial security covered by workers’ comp.
Not Hiring an Attorney
One of the biggest mistakes injured workers often make is attempting to take on the workers’ compensation process without the help of an experienced Wakefield attorney. If an employee suffers an injury at work, they can count on their employer to enlist the help of a team of lawyers to handle a claim. An injured employee could even the playing field by hiring an accomplished lawyer.
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.