You will already be feeling stressed out after suffering an on-the-job accident. Needing to deal with your employer and their insurance provider to file a workers’ compensation claim will only make the situation even tenser. It might feel impossible to rest and relax as you should to heal from your injuries as best as possible because there is too much to do for your claim.
However, with a bit of Georgia workers’ comp law knowledge ahead of time, you can more easily get a grasp of the situation and try to avoid the biggest hurdles and speedbumps. With a successful claim, you can get benefits to pay for all of your necessary medical treatments and provide some of your usual wages, as well as other advantages. It is worth doing what you can to give your claim the greatest chance of being accepted without complication.
Here are 7 tips for your workers’ comp claim to keep in mind from the beginning:
- Tell your employer as soon as you can: A terrible mistake you can make in your workers’ compensation case right at the beginning is trying to keep your injury secret from your employer. Many workers are understandably nervous about telling their employer about their on-the-job injury because they do not want to be reprimanded for making a mistake or failing to complete their work tasks. Please do not try to keep your injury to yourself. Notify your employer immediately, which lets them find you the proper in-network medical care.
- Talk to your coworkers about what they saw: You should speak with your coworkers to get their input about what they saw when you were injured. The information that they saw from their unique perspective could be invaluable for your claim later if the insurance company insinuates that you intentionally caused your workplace injury or that you were egregiously negligent, such as by being intoxicated or impaired while working. At that point, you would need to treat your case as a personal injury claim, fighting to show that you are deserving of the workers’ comp benefits that should have been guaranteed.
- See a medical provider the same day: You need to see a medical provider as soon as you can after suffering an on-the-job injury. What might seem like a simple ache or sprain could soon feel much worse and reveal a serious underlying problem. Insisting that you get the chance to see a doctor for a check-up will help preserve your health by hopefully catching any issues early and allowing the doctor to prescribe a treatment. Also, early treatment helps further validate the need for your medical treatments, which an insurer might try to contest later by saying you are using elective procedures, not those deemed necessary.
- Make an injury journal: You can never be sure when an injury and its symptoms will worsen, requiring further or new treatments. From the first day of your injury, you should be writing a daily injury journal. Be candid about what you are experiencing to clearly create a record of what has happened to you, what is changing, and what might need to be addressed with future treatments. If an insurer tries to deny treatments later, then your journal can be used by an attorney in your claim’s favor.
- Work with an attorney for insurance company inquiries: Working with a workers’ compensation lawyer is also highly recommended on the same day as your workplace accident. If you decide you do not want a lawyer right away, then you should at least inquire with one before talking to any insurance company representatives. Insurance adjusters are trained to get you talking and misconstruing what you say to make you seem more liable for your injuries. In a workers’ compensation case, the insurance company might try to avoid paying for future treatments by acting like your injury complications are your fault, not something related to your initial injury. An attorney acting on your behalf can help you say the right things to avoid such complications.
- Follow your doctor’s orders: Once you are dismissed from the hospital for your injuries, which could be the same day you first arrive for a check-up if your injuries are not life-threatening, you need to pay close attention to your doctor’s orders and follow them as closely as you can. Straying too far from the instructions – like not getting bedrest, skipping medication dosages, or missing future appointments – could all worsen your injury and give the insurance company an opportunity to deny future medical benefits. Talk to your doctor again if you have any questions about what to do for aftercare in your own home.
- Track your mileage for doctor’s appointments: Our last tip to share with you about a workers’ compensation filing in Georgia is to track your mileage whenever you drive to a doctor’s appointment. Georgia allows you to claim reimbursement for any costs associated with going to the doctor, pharmacy, or physical therapy sessions. Reimbursement can also apply for other travel costs, such as using rideshare services, taking the train, and so forth. You will only be reimbursed for a fair amount if you can show a clear record of your travels, though.
Do you have more questions about workers’ comp claims in Georgia? Need an attorney for your claim, either before filing or after it was denied? Call (770) 629-9321 and speak with a member of The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC in Atlanta today.