Hardworking employees throughout the U.S. often opt to take advantage of the workers’ compensation benefits available when they are injured on the job. While it can be assumed that most employers want to do well by those working for them, it also makes sense that they will want evidence that the injury in question took place at work and as a result of legitimate hazards in the work environment, as the treatment of injuries can be quite costly. An example of this sort of dualistic thought can be seen in episode 2 of the sixth season of the American mockumentary, The Office, in which a suspicious employee and the human resources director, fearing that they are being hoodwinked, stalk an injured worker during his sick leave to make sure he is actually sick (and end up heckling his sister when they mistake her for him).
If you are seriously hurt at work, you probably don’t need to prepare for that kind of surveillance. However, filing a claim can be a complicated (and even fraught) process, and you should be ready to support yours. Below is a list of things you might anticipate when applying for workers’ compensation:
1. Expect to be questioned
During the course of the investigation, you will be asked to provide medical records that agree with your claim, as well as evidence that the injury happened while you were operating within your occupational duties. The best you can do when making your claim is to be completely honest, cooperate fully with the investigation, and follow doctor’s instructions to the letter in the meantime.
2. Expect to be contacted soon
Your employer should get back to you within 21 days with either a payment or a rejection (or at least an update on the progress of their investigation.) If they do not respond within 21 days or complete their investigation in 45 days without good cause, they could face disciplinary action from the Insurance Department. Since missing deadlines can affect the strength of your claim, as well, you should stay involved with the process to make sure that neither you nor your employer/insurer forget or neglect to look after it.
3. Expect to be challenged
Sometimes, you can be completely honest, document everything, divulge all the necessary records, and still be denied your claim. This could be because your medical records revealed a “preexisting condition” being used as a scapegoat for your injury, because your veracity is challenged, or because something was filed incorrectly. It is not necessarily the case that your employer will place obstacles between you and needed compensation; but it is a possibility for which you should be prepared.
Should you meet challenges in filing your workers’ compensation claim, you do not have to accept the “no” you are given if you know you deserve to be recompensed. Utah personal injury attorneys Christensen & Hymas are dedicated to their clients, providing support and advocacy to those who suffer from severe, high-cost injuries, but cannot find resources for recovery. If you suspect that you may profit from their expertise, free consultations are available at (801) 506-0800.
Image courtesy of Ken Teegardin