Workers’ Comp Attorney
to Avoid Common Mistakes
If you have suffered a work injury, you may be focused on the injury and may fail to understand the process required for securing benefits under workers’ comp. There are a few common mistakes that can diminish your benefits or even eliminate them altogether. Filing a workers’ comp claim can seem complex and overwhelming, but help is available. At the Law Offices of Bo Katzakian, our experienced Stockton workers’ comp attorneys are committed to helping injured workers avoid the usual pitfalls and get the benefits they deserve for medical care and loss of income.
Common Workers’ Comp Claim Mistakes
- Failing to Notify Your Employer: You are required to notify your employer immediately if you suffer a work injury. It is common for a worker to wait because they think the injury is minor or will heal quickly. However, if you fail to take this step, you may forfeit the ability to collect benefits. Always tell your employer when you are hurt, even if the injury seems minor.
- Waiting to File a Claim: Workers’ comp has strict requirements and time limits for filing a claim. Acting quickly and hiring an attorney will preserve your right to benefits and allow you to collect them sooner.
- Assuming a Claims Adjuster Knows Your Pay Rate: Never rely on insurance companies to know your current pay rate. Make sure that you double check all of the information they were provided. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for insurance adjusters to overwrite or exclude certain hours such as holiday and vacation time or even overtime hours and incentive pay. Make sure all financial information is discussed and that all information is documented accurately.
- Notifying an Employer Verbally: Although you may think that telling your supervisor that you suffered a work injury is enough, you should always notify them in writing. When you are injured at work, your employer should provide a claim form or a written accident report. If the employer does not give you a claim form, it is a good idea to notify them of the work injury in an email, so you have a written record that the incident was reported.
- Waiting to Get Medical Attention: You may wait to get medical care, thinking the injury is not too serious. However, this can lead to the insurance company believing that you are not truly injured and this could result in a workers’ comp claim denial. For this reason, you should always visit a doctor as soon as possible and attend all required follow-up appointments and therapy.
- Failure To Provide Accurate Details to Your Doctor About Your Workplace Injury: Make sure to inform your doctor of any injuries, pre-existing conditions, and never embellish your injuries as this could alter the authenticity and integrity of your claim.
- Falsifying Information About Your Injury: The risk is too great and the benefit is too small to exaggerate your symptoms and injuries to your doctor. Often, people believe that falsifying or exaggerating your injuries will, in turn, get you more out of your claim. Doctors know this and have certain tests to conclude the severity of your injuries. False information can devalue your claim and potentially lead to a claim denial.
- Accepting the Insurance Company Doctor’s Opinion: It is common for injured workers to be treated by an insurance company’s doctor. This can be a mistake if you are not receiving appropriate medical care or if the doctor is biased in favor of the insurance company. You have the right to a second opinion. It is a good idea to visit an unbiased doctor who is familiar with the workers’ comp system.
- Failing to Gather Documentation: If you are denied or the insurance company seeks to limit your benefits, you should have documentation to support your workers’ comp claim. Document everything and keep records of the accident and subsequent events to protect your rights. This includes getting pictures and information about what caused the accident, copies of medical records, and a record of any communication from the insurance company.
- Failure to Return to Work When Your Doctor Approves: Your doctor may suggest that you gradually go back to work and perform lighter tasks, but if you fail to do so, it can give your employer more leverage in claiming that you don’t wish to return to work. If you feel you absolutely cannot perform the tasks needed for your job, consult your doctor. Your employer can work with your doctor in finding adequate solutions to make sure you can still contribute to your daily tasks.
- Performing Tasks Beyond Your Doctor’s Recommendations/Restrictions: Never try to alter your doctor’s recommendations and restrictions when recovering from a work-related injury. Many people try to return to their pre-injured routine too soon and in doing so will lengthen their recovery time. Your health is of the utmost importance. Making sure that you have fully recovered is vital. Not only does this help you get back to work at 100%, but it also insures that you don’t compromise your workers’ compensation claim.
- Not Hiring the Proper Attorney for Your Case: Not all lawyers are created equal. When selecting someone to represent you in a workers’ comp claim it is important that you do proper research and select a law firm that you have confidence in. Hiring the wrong attorney can result in a claim denial, while hiring an experienced workers’ comp attorney can improve your chances of being approved for benefits.
- Failure to Be Transparent and Honest with Your Workers’ Comp Attorney: Your workers’ comp attorney is there for you and has your best interest in mind. We succeed when you do. Failure to be honest can ultimately leave a lot of holes in your case and can be detrimental to your success.
- Signing Medical Authorizations and Giving Recorded Statements: Much like any other personal injury case, anything you say or do can be used against you. Never give too much information and never sign, authorize, or record anything without a workers’ compensation attorney present. Claims adjusters may try to convince you of their “policies” and ask you to provide them with authorizations or may ask you to provide a recorded statement. There are no laws that require you to give a recorded statement during your claim process. It is important that you speak with an experienced workers’ comp attorney before signing any documents or giving any statements.
Let our Workers’ Comp Attorneys Help you Avoid Mistakes
Our Stockton workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping injured workers throughout Northern California. We can advise you on the actions that need to be taken and can help you avoid making mistakes. Time is of the essence when dealing with a workers’ compensation claim, so don’t wait to get the help you need. When you succeed, we succeed. Call us today.