A work injury can be a major source of hardship, which is why the vast majority of employers in Illinois are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. However, that doesn’t always stop them from trying to keep your workers’ comp payout to the bare minimum. Because of that, it’s important for injured employees to know how to defend their rights.
The following tips can help you get the most out of your workers’ compensation claim.
Report Your Injury Immediately
First of all, make sure you report your injury as promptly as possible. The state of Illinois sets a strict timeline of 45 days in which to report your injury. That time limit starts counting down from either the moment you were injured or the point when you discovered your injury.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Another prompt action you’ll need to take is to get medical attention. Don’t put it off—you need to have your injury assessed as close to the time of your accident (or you're discovering the injury) as possible in order to get as accurate a diagnosis as possible.
In addition, putting off medical treatment can make it look like your injury isn’t as serious as you might claim when you file for compensation. Making sure you get treatments as soon as you can only solidify your claim.
Get Referrals from Your Doctor
Illinois law allows you to cover treatment from up to two doctors of your choice plus any referrals they give you. If your employer has a preferred provider network, however, opting out of that network counts as one of your two choices.
To make sure all treatment is covered, make sure you get referrals from your physician of choice. Anyone they refer you to for additional treatment (plus anyone those referrals refer you to) can be covered in addition to your usual two doctors.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
At times, insurance companies may put you under surveillance to determine whether you are true as severely injured as you claim. As such, it’s highly important to follow all orders from your physician. If they put limitations on your ability to work, lift, or engage in physical activities, make sure you follow those restrictions. Failing to do so might compromise your claim. At the very least, it might prompt your employer’s insurance company to take a closer look at your situation.
Record-keeping is essential to support your claim, especially in situations where your employer might question your claim’s validity. Any time you sign a form, receive communication from your employer or their insurer or generate a medical record by visiting a doctor, make sure you keep a copy of it.
Work restriction slips can be especially important in workers’ comp claims, so be sure to get one of those from your doctor as well.
Get an Attorney
Finally, you’ll need a workers’ compensation lawyer if your claim is called into question. Even if your employer is simply pressuring you into accepting a less-than-favorable settlement, having a lawyer on your side can be highly beneficial. If you have been injured in a work accident, contact Hart David Carson LLP today.