If you need to see a doctor after you’ve been injured on the job – do it! Don’t hesitate. Seeking medical care is always a good idea, even if you think your injuries aren’t that serious. Some injuries can mature over days and weeks, and without the proper care, the symptoms that you experience can become worse.
Step Two: Inform Your Employer
You need to be sure to inform your employer as soon as possible in writing. Usually your employer will have claim forms on hand for you to fill out. It is then their responsibility to inform their insurer immediately about your injury or illness. In Pennsylvania, injured workers have 120 days to inform their employer.
Don’t worry about what caused your injury or illness, even if the accident was your fault, you are still entitled workers’ compensation.
Make sure that you review every single form before you sign anything. If you have questions or need clarification, consult a lawyer. It is important that you understand everything, because the Courts will enforce anything you sign, even if you made a mistake.
Step Three: Keep Records
Be sure that you write down all the details of the accident that caused your injury or illness as soon as possible. Take pictures of the accident location, anything that was involved in the accident, and if the injury is visible, that as well.
Keep copies of all workers’ compensation claim forms that you have filled out, your medical records, and any paperwork you receive from the insurance company.
Step Four: Appeals
If you receive a letter indicating that your claim has been denied, you can file an appeal. At this point, if you haven’t contacted a workers’ compensation lawyer, you should. Appeals can take months to years to resolve and typically involve a hearing. You can be sure that the insurance company will have legal representation, you should too.
What Kind Of Benefits Will Workers’ Comp Cover?
If your claim is approved, you may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages due to time away from work, temporary disability, or permanent disability. Each case is different and a workers’ compensation attorney will be able to review your case and inform you of the types of benefits you may be eligible for.
Workers’ Compensation Claims vs Civil Lawsuits
Workers’ compensation was created for two reasons – to ensure that employees hurt on the job get the medical care and lost wage they need in order to heal and so that employers aren’t faced with lawsuits on a regular basis.
This does not, however, prevent the injured from filing a civil lawsuit against a third party. For example, if a construction worker is injured when a nail gun fires incorrectly, they may be able to pursue legal action against the manufacturer of the nail gun. By pursuing this form of legal action, you may be able to obtain compensation for your pain and suffering on top of any medical expenses and lost earnings.
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