There are a number of serious mistakes that an individual can make following an accident at work that can end up damaging their Charleston Longshore and Harbor workers’ compensation claim later on. The most common mistake is not reporting the injury right away, either because the individual thinks it is minor or they think they can treat it themselves.
Sometimes, they are fearful of retribution from a supervisor or a safety director, or they are fearful of messing up on a good safety record or losing bonuses or other rewards that are given by the employer to the all of the employees. The person may be worried about what they will look like if they are the one that had an accident and messed up the safety record. No matter the reason for withholding this information, it is always a mistake that can end up hurting the individual should they file an accident claim.
Not Seeking Medical Attention
It is important for an individual to obtain a doctor of their choice, and make sure that they are examined and documented from head to toe, not just the injury. No matter how large or small they perceive the injury to be, the injured person needs to make sure that their body parts are documented and addressed so that later on when they are seeking medical treatment and disability benefits for their body parts, there is a clear record of it being linked to the work accident.
When one of these workers is hurt, imaging or testing can objectively corroborate what is going on. Without clear records, there is an opportunity for the employer and their insurance company to deny the case and deny benefits. An individual may not know the importance of obtaining their own doctor if they were to handle their Charleston worker’s compensation claim on their own.
Underreporting the Injury
Many times, people underreport the severity of their injuries. They believe if they go out on workers’ compensation they will be paid much less than what they earn, and that they will not be able to provide for their family and pay their bills. They do not want to mess up a clean safety record that may lead to some benefit or bonus; not just for them, but for other workers. They do not want to take the heat for being perceived as the one that messed up the record. In fact, they have done nothing wrong. It is just an accident on the job.
These workers’ compensation cases are supposed to be remedial benefits that provide medical and monetary damages to the injured worker so they can recover and get back to work. Not reporting an injury can hinder the success because if the case because is not documented early, many commissioners and judges assume that because the person did not report the injury, it probably did not happen at work.
Speaking With Insurance Without An Attorney
If the person does report an injury and minimizes the situation or says it possibly came from somewhere other than the work accident, that can be problematic. The insurance company uses every opportunity to point to anything in the person’s past or that happened after the person’s work accident as the source of the problems.
The insurance company tries to cast doubt that the injury came from the traumatic event. It is important to report early and fully report from head to toe all of the injuries. The person should not underreport the severity of any of the injuries. If an individual were to handle a Charleston worker’s compensation claim on their own, they may not know that underreporting an injury can lead to a lesser reward.
Benefit of a Lawyer
An experienced Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation lawyer can start by finding a physician who is an expert in the field for the type injuries. The lawyer finds a physician who will not be bullied or pushed around by the insurance company to provide the injured worker with the maximum care for the injuries.
The injured worker is unlikely to be in a position to challenge or even understand how their average weekly wage and their workers’ compensation rate are calculated which are the basis for the checks sent every week to keep the injured worker afloat while they recover from their injuries. A lawyer has subpoena power to get records that are otherwise not available to the injured worker.
The lawyer has relationships with the defense bar and the physicians who work on the cases. The lawyer knows the black letter law and well-established legal rules that are not subject to dispute. This is something the injured worker does not know about.
An experienced lawyer who handled these cases for a substantial number of years and has a wealth of experience can see the whole picture. The experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help the injured worker navigate through the difficulties and get the maximum medical and monetary benefits the average lay person is not able to do.