Pitfalls to Avoid When Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim
While Mississippi workers’ comp insurance is considered “no-fault,” there are certain things you should avoid when filing a claim so your benefits will not be denied. Some of the more common mistakes made by those filing a Mississippi workers’ comp claim include the following:
- Not reporting your injury to your employer immediately. Many employees hesitate to file a claim until they are certain their injuries are serious. In fact, one of the primary reasons workers’ comp claims are denied is due to workers who are injured on a Friday, but don’t report the injury until the following Monday. The worker may feel he or she will determine over the weekend whether the injury is severe enough to warrant a workers’ comp claim. The employer’s insurer, however, may look at such actions quite differently, claiming the injury actually occurred over the weekend. The best practice is to always report an injury immediately, regardless of how serious you think the injury is.
- Expecting that your doctor will tell your employer your injuries are work related. Even if you are severely injured on the job, and taken to the emergency room in an ambulance, the doctors and nurses who treat you may or may not notify your employer. The job of health professionals is to stabilize your health and help you get better. It is your job to remind your doctor to fill out the paperwork which shows your injury was job-related.
- Not reporting a work injury which has made a pre-existing condition worse. As an example, if you suffered a back injury many years ago which still causes you pain from time to time, you may feel a back injury which occurs during your current employment does not qualify for a workers’ comp claim. In fact, any previous medical condition which was exacerbated by a current work injury, is covered under workers’ compensation, although these cases can be complex, and it could help your case to have a knowledgeable Mississippi workers’ comp attorney by your side.
- Failing to report a claim because you fear you will be terminated. You cannot lose your job simply for filing a workers’ comp claim, and if you feel you were, you should absolutely talk to an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
- Failing to properly document your accident and subsequent injuries. It can be extremely beneficial to your workers' comp case to have a complete written record of your accident and injury from start to finish. If there were witnesses to the accident, make sure you have their contact information, and keep all expenses for your injuries in a file. Document every medical professional you see for your injuries as well as all treatments you receive.
- Failing to check and double check your claim for errors prior to submitting it. Should you have any inaccuracies on your claim, it could be delayed at best, or even denied.
- Failing to fully explain your injury to your healthcare providers. Your workers’ comp benefits will be based on your medical records, coupled with the accident report from your employer. Should a dispute arise, your medical records will generally carry a significant amount of weight. Make sure you tell your doctor everything about your workplace injury, including how it has affected your everyday life.
- Failing to follow your doctor’s orders. If it appears you are standing in the way of your own recovery by failing to do as your doctor ordered, your workers’ comp benefits could be denied or delayed.
- Returning to work too soon. Because paying workers’ comp benefits costs the insurance company money, your employer may pressure you, either directly or more subtly, to return to work before your injury has healed. If necessary, request a job description from your employer for your regular job, then have your doctor review it to determine whether you are capable of performing the required work at this particular state of your recovery.
If you have any questions regarding your workers’ comp claim, it is much better to speak to an experienced Mississippi workers’ comp attorney than to simply hope it will all turn out okay for you. Your attorney can assess your claim, and determine the best way to proceed in order to get you the benefits you are entitled to. At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys fight aggressively for injured employees and their families – to ensure that they receive the money they need to fully recover. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600 or 1-877-231-1600.