Workers’ Comp Claims – Pitfalls to Avoid
Illinois workers’ compensation law is generally very much in favor of injured workers, but there are still some pitfalls you will need to be aware of if you are injured on the job. Here, we’ll go over some common mistakes to avoid when making a workers’ comp claim.
Pitfall 1: Keeping it to Yourself
While you don’t want to go around telling everyone and their neighbor about your workers’ compensation case, you do need to make sure your employer is informed of the accident. This should be done promptly—within 45 days, at the very most. Beyond that point, your claim will likely be denied.
In addition, you will need the help of your doctor and an attorney. Both should be fully aware of the details surrounding your injury so that you can receive the full amount you’re entitled to. Missing details may compromise your case or limit the care you receive.
Pitfall 2: Trusting Your Memory
As soon as you can after your accident occurs, make sure you write down as many details as you can remember. Details fade with time, so a written record will help solidify the facts. Your records should include:
- The details of the accident, such as what happened, how it occurred, what the results were, etc.
- Details about your injury—what hurts, whether any pre-existing conditions were exacerbated, and so on.
- Symptoms over time, including pain, discomfort, or other indications of your injury.
- Medical expenses, including medical care, lost wages, travel, aftercare, etc.
Having these records in tangible format will not only help you remember them better, but it will make your case much simpler to pursue, thereby increasing your odds of success.
Pitfall 3: Malingering
Malingering is any exaggerated complaining of your injury, usually done in order to avoid work. Exaggerating your injury to your doctor will likely result in reduced or denied compensation since they will run tests to find out exactly what is wrong. You want to make sure you’re thorough, of course. However, while that may mean informing your doctor of pains or aches that you don’t think are a big deal, don’t overdo it either. It’s best just to be honest.
Pitfall 4: Ignoring Instructions
When your doctor places restrictions on what you can do, follow his or her instructions. If you don’t and someone sees you, it can compromise your claim. Likewise, if your doctor gives you permission to go back to work, do so, even if it’s just light duty. Refusing to go back to work will only show your employer that you are unwilling to do so and therefore weaken your case.
Pitfall 5: Trusting the Insurance Company
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider will try to find ways to diminish the amount they owe you, so don’t assume that they’re on your side. You don’t need to sign a medical authorization or give a recorded statement to the insurance company, even if they say it’s required. Before you deal with the insurance company, contact your attorney.
If you have been injured on the job, contact a skilled workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Hart & David can provide you with the legal guidance you need to get what you’re owed.