Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, and can be quite complex for the average employee to understand. Some people even believe that they are not eligible for such benefits unless they have been employed for a certain amount of time. These common misunderstandings about workplace injuries often lead victims down the wrong path to financial recovery.
If you are ever injured at work, regardless of how long you have been employed, it is important that you act fast and take the proper steps towards making a claim. Continue reading to learn what you should (and should not) do to after being injured at work.
What NOT To Do
Do not believe your employer if they say you are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. As mentioned before, this is simply not true. This same fact applies to an employer who insists that you must work a minimum period of time to receive workers’ comp benefits; this is simply not true either. As soon as you are officially employed, you are entitled to rights if injured on the job.
It is also very important that you do not let your employer put you back to work in a position that violates your work restrictions. Be sure to discuss what these restrictions are with your doctor so that you are entirely informed of your aftercare instructions and occupational restrictions.
If your employer assigns you a nurse case manager, you do not have to let them into the examination room with you when being seen by the doctor. This is your legal right, so do not allow your employer to manipulate you into believing otherwise.
Upon making a claim, do not let the insurance carrier postpone their decision on whether to approve or deny your workers’ compensation claim. In Indiana, the law mandates that insurance companies must provide their decision within 30 days from the day a workers’ compensation claim is filed.
What To Do
If you are injured at work, whether you think you might require treatment or not, you should immediately notify your supervisor and have them make a written report of the incident to have on record. Be sure to get a copy of the report too.
If your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier sets up appointments and medical examines for you, be sure to attend them all, regardless of the situation. Make all efforts to avoid rescheduling any such arrangements. In some jurisdictions, workers’ comp benefits can be negatively impacted if you miss or reschedule more than once.
Retain all documents (or copies of documents) that your doctors give you regarding any medical restrictions, off-work statements, and related reports. If you are not pleased with the medical treatment you are receiving, it is in your right to request a second opinion.
If you have to travel outside of your county of residence to see doctors or receive medical treatment, record the dates, miles traveled, and doctors’ names, and keep this log on hand. In Indiana, there is a certain rate that employees can be reimbursed per mile they have to travel.
As far as logs go, it also helps to keep record of the total amount of time you are off work as a result of your injuries. In Indiana, if you are off work for more than 7 days due to your workplace injury, you are entitled to collect TTD (Temporary Total Disability) benefits. See our blog A Brief Explanation of Temporary Total, Temporary Partial, and Permanent Total Disability Benefits to learn more about these benefits.
If your employer harasses or retaliates against you for making a workers’ comp claim, immediately report to the Indiana Department of Labor. It is against the law for an employer to make threats or retaliations.
If you are denied any benefits based on the suggestion of a pre-existing condition, or some other reason, be sure to contest the denial. Contact an Indianapolis workers’ compensation lawyer to recover the full and fair benefits you deserve after being injured at work.