Although workers’ compensation insurance protects employees who suffer workplace injuries, most of them are unfamiliar with the workers’ comp system. They may not be aware of their rights and certain protocols required to make a claim, leaving them vulnerable to making mistakes that can jeopardize their claim.
The following are the most common mistakes people make when a filing workers’ compensation claim:
- Fail to properly report the accident and injury – According to the workers’ compensation law in Georgia, injured employees must report their injury within 30 days of the date the accident occurred. If an injured worker attempts to file a claim after this deadline, he/she may lose their right to obtain workers’ comp benefits. However, it is recommended to report the injury to your employer as soon as the accident happens. Make sure you save a copy of the accident report and all documents related to your case.
- Not seek medical care – Many injured employees make the mistake of avoiding immediate medical attention after an accident, thinking that the injury is not that serious or the pain will wear off over time. Unfortunately, this is a huge mistake. Not only will a doctor determine the full extent of injuries, he/she will also provide medical documentation that can be used as evidence in your case to demonstrate the seriousness of the work accident injuries. Without medical documentation supporting your claims, the insurance company can deny your claims. Additionally, you must see the doctor your employer or workers’ comp insurer chooses.
- Not follow the doctor’s orders – After an injured employee receives medical treatment, the doctor will file a report the workers’ comp insurance company about your recovery. If you do not comply with the doctor’s orders, your claim can be denied.
- Return to work too soon – It is not uncommon for injured employees to be pressured by their employers to return to work as soon as possible. However, they run the risk of going back to work too soon before becoming fully healed. Not only can this worsen their injury, but also cost them their benefits. Your doctor should give you the exact date when you are ready to return.
- Sign documents without an attorney present – Once you sign your name on a settlement offer, you lose the ability to revisit your claim if your injury never heals or the settlement amount provided doesn’t cover the costs of your expenses. Remember, the insurance company is looking out for your employer’s best interests, not yours. To ensure you have a lawyer present when signing documents to ensure you are getting the best deal possible.
- Not hire a lawyer – To help you avoid making all of the mistakes mentioned above and your rights are always protected, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. While you recover from injury, your lawyer can handle all of the paperwork, make all of the deadlines, and ensure you obtain the maximum benefits.