When you get hurt at work, all sorts of problems come out of the woodwork. You have to deal with insurance, missing work to heal, and rehabilitation so you can return to your job and your normal life. When you are dealing with insurance, worker’s compensation may or may not be at the front of your mind, but it can be very complicated. So what are the most important things to know about it?
Make Your Report Quickly
When you are hurt at work, you know that you have to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible, but you also need to file for your worker’s compensation quickly. Some companies will lump the two reports together, but not all of them. Additionally, worker’s compensation claims should be filed with the appropriate state board, so you will want to make sure you follow up on that. If you miss your deadlines, there isn’t anything that you can do.
Your Injury Doesn’t Have to Be New
If your work injury is an aggravation of a previous injury, you still might be able to receive some compensation. You do have to be able to prove that your work made the condition worse, but with proper medical examinations, that shouldn’t be too difficult. Remember that worker’s compensation will only cover the treatment for the aggravated injury, not other injuries that weren’t aggravated by your work.
Your Employer May Choose the Doctor
Just as your doctor needs to be someone within your insurance network, the doctor that you see for any work-related injuries needs to be within their insurance network. If your injury is life-threatening or needs immediate attention, you should go straight to the emergency room, but otherwise, you need to make sure you go to the doctor that your employer authorizes. If you don’t, you will be violating the terms of your worker’s compensation, and they will not pay for your treatment.
It Doesn’t Matter Who is at Fault
To receive workers compensation, the injury doesn’t have to be the fault of your employer. It could be your fault, another employee’s fault, or a complete accident. As long as it occurs while you are on the clock or doing business for your employer, you have a claim that you can make. As long as you weren’t violating any company policies, i.e. drinking on the job, worker’s compensation follows a no-fault clause.
It may seem like worker’s compensation is really tricky and set up for you to fail, but there is always help. Talk to your human resources department and the state board in charge of the claims to make sure you understand the specifics of your company and your state policies.