Getting injured on the job can seriously impair your ability to support yourself and your family. Fortunately, each state has a Worker's Compensation Program to help employees who receive disabling injuries at their workplace. You might put your benefits at risk, however, if you do not follow proper filing procedures. Here's a closer look at some key points to keep in mind when filing a worker's compensation claim.
See a Doctor
The first step on the road to filing for your benefits is to see a doctor as soon as possible after your injury. If you delay this step, the employer and his insurer might gain an advantage if they challenge your assertion that the injury is serious enough to prevent you from working. Make sure that your disability is documented by a medical professional quickly; this will help strengthen your claim.
Inform Your Employer
Even before you file, you need to inform your employer of your intention to apply for worker's compensation. The amount of time you have to tell your boss about the decision depends on the laws of your state. Most states allow you between 30 to 45 days after your injury. Although you have the option of informing the employer verbally, letting him know in writing is generally a better idea. It establishes a written record in case your version of events is disputed at a later date.
Meet the Deadline
All states have deadlines for the filing of claims. The time limit varies, but in most cases you have at least a year from the time the injury occurred to file. If you did not suffer a specific injury, but developed a malady, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, over time, the situation is somewhat different. The deadline clock starts when you see a doctor for the problem or from the time you should have known that the malady was work related.
You may be able to file your claim through your employer. In some instances, he will give you some paperwork to fill out. In other cases, you may need to go down your state's Worker's Compensation office to file your claim, depending on the laws where you live.
Filing a worker's compensation claim properly is often rather tricky, because the laws can be complex and also vary by state. To make certain that you file your claim in accordance with regulations in your state, contact an experienced worker's compensation lawyer such as The Law Firm of Fitzgerald, Reese & Van Dyne, Co.Share