Unfortunately, too many people are the victims of workplace injuries. According to OSHA, 4,679 employees died in 2014 from workplace accidents. Those that are not killed by an accident typically receive debilitating injuries. If this happens, one of the only recourses available to injured workers is applying for workers’ compensation. Below are a few steps you can use to do just that.
1. Make Sure the Injury Is Properly Documented
After receiving medical attention for a workplace injury, you need to insure that the proper documentation is created to record both the accident and the injury sustained from that accident. Your employer should be doing this regardless since not doing so is against the law. However, still make sure a record is created for the workplace injury and obtain a copy. Similarly, your doctor needs to create a record of your injury so you can be given a copy that proves you are telling the truth.
2. Make Sure You Are Eligible
Unfortunately, there is the possibility you may not be eligible for workers’ compensation in certain cases. In some states like Minnesota and Michigan, workers’ comp is available to every employee. In other states, there may be restrictions such as one for companies with less than a certain number of employees. Check to make sure you are covered. According to Illinois.gov, companies with less than five employees can opt out of workers’ compensation insurance.
3. File the Claim
Your employer is obligated to provide you with workers’ compensation claim forms and submit them for you. If your employer refuses to comply, go to your local workers’ compensation office. After getting contacted by the workers’ compensation office, they will comply or face legal consequences. However, in certain states, the individual may have the responsibility of filing the paperwork. If this is the case, you can do it yourself. However, it may be wise to use the assistance of an attorney.
4. If Your Claim Is Not Disputed
In many cases, the claim will not be disputed by either your employer or the insurer that provides the workers’ compensation coverage. If this is the case, it will be approved by the insurance adjuster and you will be contacted by the insurance company. The insurance company will give you instructions on how to use the coverage to pay for your medical bills resulting from the injury. Other benefits you will likely receive include checks from the insurance company to pay for lost wages due to your injury.
5. If Your Claim Is Disputed
Unfortunately, workers compensation claims are often disputed as well. The employer might dispute the cause of the injury or even claim that an employee is an independent contractor. In other cases, the insurance company may deny the claim. Whatever the case, the employee in question has the ability to challenge a decision by filing something known as an application for adjudication of claim. Overall, if you are denied, it’s best to have an attorney handle the appeal process for you.