Unfortunately, accidents can happen on the job and while we tend to think of construction or manufacturing jobs as only causing accidents, anyone can become injured on the job. Whether for temporary or permanent injuries, or illnesses, following a work-related incident you may be entitled to receive worker’s compensation. Worker’s compensation benefits mean you might be entitled to a portion of your lost wages, medical bills, and sometimes permanent disability benefits. However, you’ll need to report your injury and file your claim.
Reporting the Injury
In most states, you’re required to report your injury sickness to your employer. Different states might have varying timeframes. For example, in Illinois, you need to report your injury within 45 days the accident occurred or when you first started noticing conditions. For some states, this timeframe might be longer or shorter.
Regardless, it’s good practice to report the incident as soon as it happens. The longer you wait the greater chance your employer and/or their insurance company might become skeptical and start doubting your claim. Of course, seeking medical attention for a serious injury should always be your top priority. After ensuring you’re not in a life-threatening condition, however, that’s when it’s time to report the injury/sickness to your employer.
Filing Your Worker’s Compensation Claim
Once you report your claim your employer should give you all the necessary forms to fill out. Generally, your employer will then file these claims with the insurance company and the state’s workers’ compensation agency.
In some states, this will mean that your claim has officially started and you will only be required to file paperwork with the state workers’ compensation agency if any of your benefits are denied. In other states, however, you will also need to file an official workers’ compensation claim with the workers’ compensation agency.
You will be able to receive all the information, forms, and assistance from your state’s workers’ compensation agency. When your employer refuses to cooperate, calling your agency can also help to remedy the situation.
What Will Happen Next?
When all the forms are officially filed what will happen next is that the employer’s insurance company will start investigating the situation. Once they have investigated the claim they will then either approve or deny it. Typically, this process takes between two to four weeks but can vary.
When Do You Need a Lawyer?
There are some situations that may call for a lawyer. If your claim is denied or you’re offered an inadequate amount, having a lawyer on your side can help. A lawyer will fight on your behalf and ensure you receive the compensation and justice you deserve. A lawyer can:
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Help gather evidence to support your case
- Represent you in hearings
While dealing with a denied worker’s compensation claim can be frustrating, having a workers’ compensation lawyer on your side can help remedy the issue. Our friends at Therman Law Offices, LTD has a team of experienced lawyers ready to help!