Whether you’re injured on the job or develop an illness, you should be able to rely on workers’ compensation to cover your medical costs and lost wages. Almost every employer buys into workers’ compensation insurance, but not all employers provide coverage in the same way. Just because an injury occurs does not mean you are automatically covered.
How can you make sure that you are covered?
Report every single illness and injury. You may be tempted to keep your illness or injury to yourself. You may think complaining to your coworker is enough. Report your illness or injury to your employer immediately.
See the right medical professional. If you are not experiencing an emergency, your employer may tell you where to go for medical care. Go to that provider or your claim may go nowhere.
Tell doctors and nurses you were hurt at work. If you fail to tell the hospital or clinic that you were injured at work, your medical bills will come straight to you. If you have chosen your own doctor, make sure he or she is approved to see workers’ compensation cases.
Check your medical records. When you are discharged, make sure that your records list every illness or injury and every body part or system involved.
Know what is covered. Before an accident or illness happens, make sure that you understand your employer’s workers’ compensation program.
No-fault insurance. Don’t believe your employer when they tell you that your accident isn’t covered if it’s your fault. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance, meaning you are covered even if the incident is your fault.
Stay sober. If you have drugs or alcohol in you system at the time of the accident, your claim can be denied. Stay sober at work.
You may or may not need an attorney. Unless you believe that you are not being treated fairly or your initial claim has been denied, you may not need an attorney. That is not to say that hiring an attorney is not beneficial. If you can afford an attorney, get one.
Large payouts are rare. You see commercials touting huge settlements on a daily basis. These payouts are rare. There is a cap on employment benefits, no matter what you bring home. Don’t expect to be able to live off of your workers’ compensation claim.
Cheaters will get caught. Most people who try to cheat the workers’ compensation system eventually get caught. Don’t fake an illness or injury and expect to get away with it.