The following is a list of some of the many mistakes employees make when they have a work-related injury or illness.
Failure to report an injury immediately
Often an employee fails to report their injury to their employer because they think it will heal or that it will get better. The motivating factor is typically that the employee is worried about negative repercussions from the employer. However, if the employee fails to report the injury until many days after the injury, the employer may deny the claim. And if an employee waits too long, the claim may be barred entirely.
Waiting to get treatment
The longer an employee waits to get needed medical treatment, the more likely the employer and insurer will deny the claim on the bases of a lack of impairment, injury, or illness.
Giving a recorded statement without legal advice
A recorded statement is a way for the employer and insurer to pin down the employee’s story. However, you may be answering questions the answers to which could have a drastic effect on your workers’ compensation benefits. Never give a statement without first talking to your lawyer.
Once you have established care with one doctor, you can switch doctors only in limited situations, and you must go through a specific procedure to do so. An employer and insurer may deny your claim for the second doctor’s treatment if you do not receive proper approval.
Settling a case without representation
An employer and insurer may seek to settle your claim even if you do not have an attorney. Of course, the employer and insurer probably are not looking out for your best interests. Consequently, you may be giving up claims or getting less than you deserve if you settle without legal advice.
Going to a hearing without a lawyer
A hearing has drastic consequences for an employee’s workers’ compensation benefits. A hearing involves many different legal technicalities that could cause you to lose your claim. Many think if they lose they can always appeal and then get an attorney.
But he who represents himself has a fool for an attorney, as the old saying goes. Mistakes at the hearing can rarely be corrected on appeal because no new evidence is allowed on appeal.
Know who is looking out for your best interests
Many claimants think the claims adjusters, the insurance company nurse, or the insurance company rehabilitation worker is working for them. They do not realize they are in an adversarial relationship and that anything they say can be used against them.
Many of these mistakes can be avoided if you consult with an attorney. An attorney trained in workers’ compensation law can provide sound legal advice so you will not lose out on benefits. Contact the Law Office of Thomas Mottaz for experienced workers’ compensation attorneys who can assist you with your workers’ compensation case.