Injured at work and don’t know what to do next?

There is a series of steps that must be taken to file a workers’ compensation claim. Paperwork must be filed with specific timelines involved and protocols that must be followed.  Before you do anything, call the Richard Harris Law Firm and consult our personal injury lawyers who know exactly what to do. Even if you have already begun the process of filing a claim, or you have been denied, our lawyers know what to do next. When you hire a dedicated workers’ compensation lawyer your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve increase greatly. Your lawyer represents you in communicating with the insurance company responsible for workers’ compensation. The truth of the matter is, insurance companies have their own lawyers who are looking for any way to avoid payouts and save money for their clients. This is why it is important to hire knowledgeable and trustworthy lawyers who are dedicated to representing victims of injury in the workplace and know how to deal with insurance company’s lawyers.

What is the initial process of filing a claim for workers’ compensation?

Step 1: Notify your employer by filing an incident report.

  • Timeline: Within 7 days of injury

Step 2: Fill out an Employee’s Claim for Compensation form if the injury forces you to miss work or you are in need of or are already receiving medical attention. 

  • Timeline: Injured persons must fill out the top portion of the claim form called a C-4 within 3 working days of treatment while the doctor must complete the C-4 by filling out the bottom portion of the claim and submitting it to the insurance company within 90 days.

Your lawyer can assist you with filling out and filing all paperwork correctly and in the allotted time.

In the following situations, it is imperative to have a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of workers’ compensation cases and how to navigate varying circumstances. 

  • There is little medical evidence to support the workers’ comp claim.
  • There have been serious and potentially long-term injuries that lead to a high value claim.
  • The employer disputes the claim.
  • The settlement doesn’t seem sufficient or in alignment with the injuries. sustained.
  • The claim was not approved and an appeal is necessary. 

Three important aspects of workers’ compensation your personal injury lawyer handles include:

  1. Gathering medical evidence that supports your claim
    1. How can a lawyer ensure there is sufficient medical evidence to support a claim?
      1. Assembling all medical records
      2. Proposing treatment with certain physicians
      3. Securing the medical opinions of participating physicians and potentially have independent medical exams conducted 
      4. Acting as representation at a deposition
      5. Conducting depositions of medical experts
      6. Gathering statements from family and friends
      7. Obtaining evidence of negligence on an employer’s part
  2. Negotiating a good settlement
    1. How does a workers’ comp lawyer determine how much an individual’s settlement should be?
      1. How severe the injuries incurred are and what limitations are caused by the injuries
      2. Medical expenses from the time of the injury along with future expenses
      3. The extent of impairment, whether it is short term or long lasting/permanent
      4. Wages lost and penalties owed due to loss of funds
  3. Note: If a settlement is reached, your lawyer can ensure that your agreement is written properly and in a manner in which it will not negatively affect other benefits such as Social Security disability benefits. 

  4. Representing you at your workers’ comp hearing
    1. How does a workers’ comp lawyer help when a settlement can’t be reached and the case proceeds to a hearing or trial?
      1. Take depositions of witnesses
      2. Request medical records
      3. Perform legal research
      4. Write the stance being taken on the client’s behalf in petitions, motions, and responses to the insurance company
      5. Make sure that everything is submitted on time. 
      6. Present their case theory to the judge giving the reasons why benefits should be rewarded
        1. Argue on your behalf for opening and closing statements
        2. Examine witnesses 
        3. Raise objections when the insurance company does something improper
      7. Appeal if a satisfactory decision has not been made

Your lawyer can also ensure that your settlement agreement is properly written to avoid negative consequences down the road. For instance, if you’re receiving or applying for Social Security disability benefits, an improperly designed settlement agreement 

If approved, your workers’ compensation benefits can cover the following:

  • Medical treatment
  • Payment for lost wages
  • Payment for permanent loss of function
  • Death Benefits
  • Retraining benefits
  • Mileage reimbursement

If denied, you may file an appeal:

  • File a Request for Hearing – Contested Claim
  • File with Department of Administration, Hearings Division
  • File within 70 days of the decision

Note: Working with a lawyer to prepare for the process of a workers’ compensation appeal gives you a significant advantage. Knowing how to navigate the proceedings, gathering evidence to support your claim, and having the ability to prepare you for what to expect from the lawyers representing the insurance company are some of the advantages to having your own representation.

When you are injured at work, the only thing you should have to focus on is healing. Even minor injuries can affect your physical health, ability to work, and in-turn your financial security. Small injuries like a broken bone may not seem like a big deal at the time, but could have a profound and lasting impact on your health and ability to work going forward. For this reason, it’s recommended that you speak with a personal injury lawyer after sustaining any injury. He or she can offer legal advice, project future complications and expenses, and assess damages. If you or someone you love has been injured at work, contact Richard Harris Law Firm to discuss your personal injury case for free. Call (702) 444-4444 or fill out the online evaluation form to schedule your free case consultation.