An injury on the job introduces a host of concerns into your life. Not only do you have the physical pain and treatment of the injury to contend with, but you also must navigate the bureaucracy and red tape that surround many worker's compensation claims. You can begin laying the groundwork for a successful claim from the moment the injury first occurs.
Notify Your Employer
In a perfect world, you would notify your employer before doing anything else, but sometimes things aren't so cut and dried. If your injury occurs from an on-the-job accident, chances are your employer will be notified immediately. Make sure that you fill out an accident report as soon as you are able, which may depend on the severity of your injuries.
In some cases, you may only become aware of an injury at a later time. For example, a routine doctor's visit may uncover a repetitive stress injury from your job. In this case, notify your employer and fill out the paperwork as soon as the diagnosis is made.
See the Right Doctor
Which doctor you can see for your injury claim depends on your state and employer. Usually, you will get to select a doctor from a panel of doctors provided by your employer. In rare instances, you may be able to see your normal physician. The one exception is during an emergency – generally any physician can treat you if emergency services are required.
If your injury was diagnosed by your normal physician, check with your employer and HR before continuing any treatments. You will likely need to be evaluated by an approved doctor.
Follow Your Care Plan
Your claim may be denied if you fail to follow the care plan and advice of your assigned doctor. You must attend all scheduled appointments, take prescribed medications, and follow through on any necessary therapies.
Keep all documentation pertaining to your claim on file. This includes everything from the copy of the initial accident and claim form, to every correspondence from both the insurance company and your doctors. If you must submit paperwork for claims purposes, always send a copy. You may need access to the paperwork again if your claim is denied or if you need to prove treatment later.
Your goal, beyond recovery, is to ensure your rights are met and the company pays for the injuries you received on the job. If you have concerns or run into any issues, do not be afraid to contact an attorney that specializes in worker's compensation. They can help you navigate the red tape of the insurance company so you get the health coverage and compensation your deserve.