It’s natural to be overwhelmed when you have been hurt at work. You’re dealing with physical– and likely emotional– pain, you may feel insecure in what you once deemed a safe environment, and you may worry about paying medical bills and meeting financial obligations while incapacitated. Luckily, you do not have to walk through this crisis alone. Here are some tips for handling your workers compensation claim:
Taking Immediate action:
As soon as you are hurt, talk to your employer about filing a claim and getting a medical exam. Your employer should help you through the process of an insurance claim, but often, helping you does not help your employer’s bottom line. That is why, time and again, we have advised consulting with a workers comp attorney like the Fort Pierce workers compensation lawyers at Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt. Many workers comp law offices work on a contingency basis so, in addition to the consultation, which should always be free, injured workers do not have to pay attorney fees unless they are paid. Even if your employers and insurance providers seem helpful, it doesn’t hurt to fully understand your rights and legal options, especially when you can speak with a lawyer for free.
Whether you consult with a workers compensation lawyer in West Palm Beach FL or a Fort Pierce workers compensation lawyer, an attorney will likely put you on the alert for certain tactics that insurers, employers, and even doctors’ offices will use to deter you from seeking treatment and compensation. Three common tricks are:
- Sending you for a second opinion that favours the insurance provider and/or company
- Telling you you have a pre-existing condition.
- Telling you your case is closed
- Second opinions:Your company and insurance claims adjuster designate a medical professional to assess you after a work accident or injury. Their continued business with this doctor often depends on how often the doctor says what they want to hear. The less financial burden the doctor places on the insurance provider, the better for them. Insurance providers are sure to send you to a doctor whom they believe is less likely to attribute your injury to a work accident. If the doctor does agree with this, the insurance provider will often send you to a second medical professional, who will tell you your injury did not stem from work.
- Pre-existing conditions: If you fall at work and hurt your back and cannot walk the next day, the logical conclusion would be that you hurt your back due to an at-work accident. However, when you are sent to the doctor, they are likely to say that your injury is due to a pre-existing condition, that your back was injured years ago or that you developed the pain over time for unrelated reasons. If this happens to you, you would be wise to speak with a workers compensation lawyer in West Palm Beach or whatever your location.
- Case Closed?: If you are able to see a doctor, and are promised the continued medical attention you deserve, you still need to be vigilant in ensuring that you get it. Do not assume that everyone will work with you and do as they’re supposed to do. Often injured workers will be scheduled for a certain number of doctor’s visits or follow-up exams, only to be told that their cases are closed and there is no need to visit the doctor again. This is usually a result of the doctor’s office’s reluctance to simply call the workers’ comp coordinator and obtain authorization to treat. It is important to be adamant about being seen. Talking to a workers compensation lawyer is a great way to make sure the care providers follow through with your arrangement.
We hope that the above guidelines will help you in pursuing your claim, so that you may care for yourself and thrive in spite of a work injury and a complicated system.