Getting Help With A Workers Compensation Claim

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The first step in receiving worker's compensation benefits after experiencing a work-related injury is to immediately file an injury report with your employer or supervisor. In some organizations, this is done verbally to a supervisor who then fills out the report, but usually the employee completes a simple form. Either way, the employee should receive a copy of the report, verify that it is dated accurately and accurate in other respects, and retain it for his or her records. Not filing an injury report within the time frame designated by law can be a costly mistake, resulting in a possible denial or reduction of benefits. Instantly reporting workplace related injuries and filing a complaint as soon as possible increases the probability that compensation benefits will begin faster.

Once the injury report has been filed, the employee will need to make contact with a claims adjuster. The employee should be furnished with a phone number to call and instructions as to who will be responsible for making the first contact. The claims adjuster informs the employee of his or her basic rights and responsibilities in managing the claim.

Unless the employee is fully aware of their rights, and has consulted with a workers' compensation attorney, they can do serious harm to their case by talking to an insurance company claims adjuster. After all, the insurance adjuster's sole purpose is to save the insurance company money. They may attempt to get the employee to incriminate themselves somehow, or to make a statement that can be used against the employee in the denial of the claim.

Behind the initial instructions provided to the injured employee, there is a substantial amount of workers compensation law. Ultimately, it is in the employee's best interest to become well informed about these laws, keeping in mind that it is the insurance provider's goal to minimize the cost of every claim. That means the claim adjuster is accountable for answering the question, 'How soon can I get this claimant back to work?' The answer is not always to the benefit of the employee.

The laws that govern the workers' compensation process are decided on the state level and although they may be similar from one state to another, important details may be different. Such details include the determination of which employers may be exempt from participation, rights to take civil action, and penalties for not adhering to filing guidelines, among others. It is important for the employee to be aware of the laws for his or her particular state so as to avoid costly mistakes or omissions.

Even if the employee doesn't have cause to believe legal intervention is necessary, contacting an attorney will provide a well-informed perspective. The attorney will be able to help in protecting the claimant's best interest. The more serious the injury, the sooner an attorney's help may be required. The attorney can be an ally in preserving evidence, managing paperwork, and informing the client of their rights, as well as making sure that the injured employee receives any and all benefits the law to which entitles him or her.

In most states, it is against the workers' compensation laws to threaten retaliation against an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim. It is important to immediately report any harassment or threats that have been made, to the local workers' compensation office as well as the employee's appointed lawyer.

Contacting a lawyer whose specialty is workers' compensation is the best way for an employee to ensure that their rights are going to be fully protected. A worker's compensation lawyer can protect the employee's rights in many ways. For example, if another party was partly at fault for the injury, the employee may be able to file a liability claim against that third party.


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