I Hurt Myself at Work, Now What?
The Injured Worker Must Give Notice of Every Injury.
The employee must report every injury that he or she has at work. Giving the employer “notice” of the work injury should be done as soon as possible. This notice should be given to your immediate supervisor, but it’s also a good idea to report it to human resources if your employer has such a department. Advising the employer of your work injury as soon as possible is relatively easy when the injury occurred suddenly. For example, when you experience a pop or sudden pain in your low back while lifting a heavy item you should stop working and immediately notify your supervisor. It’s a little more difficult to figure out when to notify your employer when your injury is a result of cumulative or repetitive trauma or stress. In such cases, the workers generally not aware that he or she is injured until a physician makes a definitive diagnosis and attributes the injury to the repetitive work activity. Generally, give notice of any work injury as soon as you become aware that work has caused the medical condition. If possible, send a text or email to your supervisor to document that you reported the injury.
Make Sure the Paperwork Gets Done.
After the injury is reported, the supervisor, human resources, or other company management should complete a First Report of Injury Form. As part of that process, you will advise the company what your injury is and how and when it occurred. This form should then be sent by the company to their insurance carrier. Your claim will be assigned to an adjuster who should be in contact with you regarding your claim in the near future. If medical attention is needed before you hear from the claims adjuster, make sure to let the medical professional know that you need treatment for a work injury and to give a detailed description of how the injury occurred and what problems you are currently having. If you have any information regarding the workers compensation insurance carrier or your claim number, provide that information to your medical providers.
During this initial part of the claim before the insurance company gets involved, it is not uncommon for the employer to not fill out the first report of injury, advise their insurance carrier or send you for medical treatment. You need to make sure that the employer follows these steps. Pester them until they do.
Fill Out Their Forms
Once the claim adjuster gets involved, they will send you paperwork to complete and conduct a telephonic statement with you as part of their initial investigation into whether or not they will accept your claim. They will ask you to complete a Form 113 naming your treating physician. You have the right in most cases to pick your own treating doctor. They will also provide you a Form 106 that must be completed so that they can obtain copies of your medical records. They are entitled to medical records for your work injury. They should also provide you with a Form 114 so that you can keep track of any out-of-pocket expenses and request of mileage reimbursement to and from your medical treatment. Again, you need to complete these forms and provide a statement or the insurance carrier can withhold payment of medical and off work benefits.
Get Help If You Need It
At this point, the workers compensation carrier will either approve your claim and begin paying off work benefits (if the doctor has you off work) and medical benefits. If they deny your claim, you definitely need to speak with an attorney. If they have approved your claim and are not contesting any medical treatment and are properly paying your off work benefits, you don’t necessarily need to consult an attorney at this point. However, you would owe no attorney fees for a consultation. If you have any questions about your workers compensation claim, you should give us a call so that you know what to expect and whether you are being treated properly.