For those who are injured on the job, workers’ compensation can be a godsend. Often it will cover medical costs and lost wages that could otherwise mean financial disaster. However, it would be a mistake to assume that filing a claim is a simple and straightforward process. Claims can be rejected. There are some things you must do and some you shouldn’t do. Here are a few tips for securing your benefits.
1. Notify Your Employer
Laws vary from state to state, but in general you must notify your employer within four days of the date of injury. With some problems such as back pain, it may take several days for symptoms to appear. It’s a good practice to notify your employer immediately of any accidents whether you’re experiencing pain or not. At least the incident is on record.
2. Be Honest with Physicians
You can’t make a claim without a medical diagnosis of the extent and nature of the industries. Be completely honest with your physician. If you exaggerate your symptoms, or invent aches or dizzy spells you don’t have, it could be grounds for fraud. If your physician is suspicious of your symptoms, your claim could be denied even if the core injuries are real.
3. Failure to Follow Up on Treatment
Even if you feel you don’t need it any longer, continue with any prescribed treatments or medications until your doctor says otherwise. These are part of the claim settlement. Laws vary by state as to who chooses the doctor that will oversee your recovery. But in all cases, missing or refusing therapy or medications can mean suspension or even forfeit of your benefits.
4. Stay Rested
Many a claim has been denied because a person filing for workers’ compensation was seen golfing or mowing the lawn. Even if such activities aren’t especially painful, they can still be used as evidence that you don’t need and don’t deserve benefits. If you’re feeling restless, find safe ways to occupy your time. Take care of your body to ensure a faster recovery.
5. Going to Work too Soon
You may become bored and anxious to get back to a more active life and your friends at work. It’s important that you remain honest with your doctor. Trying to rush things may ruin the course of your physical recovery. Don’t hurry back to work even if your employer, friends, or family are encouraging you to do so. Always stay with your doctor’s recommendations.
Medical problems and workers’ compensation can be complex and life-changing issues. It’s important to follow both legal and medical advice throughout the experience to avoid losing your benefits.