Republished with permission from ReduceYourWorkersComp.com
We are always writing articles to assist the employer in dealing with the complexities of the workers compensation system. We thought for a change of pace we would provide an article to assist the employees in dealing with the tangled web of workers compensation.
The following suggestions will make the workers compensation claim go smoother and alleviate the angst that naturally occurs when an employee is injured on the job. (WCxKit)
1. Report your workers compensation claim immediately, even if you do not need medical care at the moment. What may feel like a pulled muscle today may be a major problem next week. It is better to have a record of your injury when it occurs rather than trying to explain why you are reporting the injury late.
2. Ask your supervisor to prepare a written report of the incident. Your supervisor should willingly do so, but if for any reason the supervisor does not act immediately, submit your own written report providing all the details of what you were doing when you got hurt. Be sure the details of your incident are accurate, as the fastest way to lose credibility is to allow inaccurate information to be reported.
3. Select a medical provider from the list posted. If you do not understand the different specialties, ask for guidance. A medical provider close to work or close to your home is often the easiest one to reach.
4. All the medical care related to your injury will be provided until you have recovered from the injury.
5. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, which can be anything from a prior back injury to diabetes, do not try to hide that fact. To get the appropriate medical care you need, all medical conditions or issues should be disclosed to the medical provider.
6. Keep track of your mileage to and from every medical appointment and to/from the pharmacy. Your mileage can be reimbursed in most states, but only if you have a record of it. Keep a copy of all mileage logs turned into the adjuster.
7. Obtain a written copy of the report your employer submits to the insurance claims office. If anything is incorrect on the report, now is the time to correct it, not later.
8. Attend all doctor appointments and all diagnostic testing. If you do not think you are hurt enough to attend the medical appointments, neither will the adjuster.
9. Provide a copy of all off-work (disability) slips to your employer and to the insurance adjuster, and keep a copy for yourself. Ask your employer if they have a more complete form to use, often called an Injury Treatment Form or Accident Report Form that gathers enough information about your injury so your employer can locate a transitional duty job for you.
10. Keep in touch with the employer and the insurance adjuster. After each doctor's visit, call both the employer and the insurance adjuster and give them an update on what the doctor said about your medical progress and when you may be able to return to work. If you are on transitional duty and your capability increases (it should) let your employer and insurance adjuster know about this.
11. Every work place has co-workers that will want to give you unsolicited advice on your workers comp claim. Follow the real doctor's medical guidance not your friends and co-workers.
12. Every state has a waiting period before lost wage compensation can be paid. Ask the claims adjuster what the waiting period is in your state. If you are out of work longer than the waiting period, you will be paid a percentage (often 66.67%) of your average weekly wage.
13. Ask about your employer's return to work program while your doctor has you off work with restrictions. Often your employer can modify your current job duties so that you can return to work sooner.
14. Do not violate the work restrictions placed on you by your doctor while working light duty. You will most likely end up aggravating your prior injury and extending the period of time it will take for you to recover from your injury.
15. If a nurse case manager is assigned to your claim, keep the nurse informed as to your medical progress and understand he/she is there to make sure you obtain the appropriate medical care. (WCxKit)
Your employer hopes you will never get hurt, but if you do, keep the workers comp claim suggestions in mind to improve the claim experience and the overall outcome of your claim.
If you are an employer reading this, the above items can be included in an employee brochure.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing, publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
Disclaimer: WorkersCompensation.com publishes independently generated writings from a variety of workers' compensation industry stakeholders. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of WorkersCompensation.com.