Workers' Compensation

How and When to File a Workers Compensation Claim

August 5, 2015

If you have been injured on the job, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. It is important to understand your state’s rules and regulations regarding making such a claim. While each state is different, this post will outline the steps that are required to successfully pursue a claim.

Employee Injury

Each state has its own definitions and rules for when an injured employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Generally speaking, an employee who suffers a workplace injury will be entitled to benefits if the injury happened in the course of his or her employment and the workplace accident that led to the injury was the primary factor in the resulting medical condition and disability.

Employer Notice and Filing of Claim

If you have been injured on the job, other than seeking medical treatment, the first thing you must do is notify your employer of the injury. Each state has a deadline by which you must provide the notice.

Although oral notice is acceptable, to protect yourself it is a good practice to provide the notice in writing. You should deliver the notice to someone in a managerial or supervisory position, and you should keep a copy of the notice for your records. The notice should contain the date and time of the injury, the nature of the injury and your contact information.

Please keep in mind that each state has different notice requirements and, therefore, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney about your specific situation.

After you have notified your employer of an injury, your employer must file certain documents with the state. Then, the employer should contact its workers’ compensation insurance carrier to notify it of your injury.

Medical Care and Benefits

After the proper paperwork has been submitted, the insurance carrier should then contact you to schedule medical treatment. Please keep in mind that in most cases, you will be financially responsible for any medical treatment, for a work-related injury, that you seek and obtain on your own. Generally, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will only be responsible to pay for treatment that it pre-authorizes. Depending on the scope of your injuries you may also be entitled to temporary disability payments. These payments are 66 2/3% of your pre-injury earnings, up to certain maximum amounts established by law. Once you have completed treatment, you may be eligible for benefits for permanent disability.

Denial and Appeal

The insurance carrier may decide to deny your claim, in which event you should consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn your options. And, should your claim be denied as a result of a hearing before a judge, you have the right to appeal the denial. Here, again, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

Obtaining Legal Assistance

You can and should obtain the assistance from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you through your workers’ compensation claim. An attorney experienced in this area of the law can make the process much easier for you and can make sure that your rights are fully protected. It is important to remember that the employer and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier have attorneys representing them to protect their rights. By the same token, you should have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in your corner to protect yours.

If you have workers’ compensation questions, especially in Kansas or Missouri, please contact one of our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys today.

Image: Thinkstock/Hailshadow

*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult with an attorney prior to making any legal decisions.

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