Work-related injuries are more common than you might think. According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an estimated 1.8 million workers were treated for such injuries in emergency departments in 2020. Some of the most common types of work-related injury include:
- Slips, trips and falls
- Overexertion and bodily reaction
- Exposure to harmful environmental substances
Workers’ compensation, or ‘workers’ comp’, is a form of insurance that protects employees who are injured or disabled as a result of their job. If you have been a victim of a workplace personal injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation payments and certain benefits to help you with medical bills, lost paychecks from time off work and other injury-related costs. This article will explain some of the steps involved when pursuing a workers’ compensation claim.
Gathering Medical Evidence
A successful workers’ compensation claim will be based on proving that your injuries were work-related. A claim will often be denied or disputed on the basis that the injuries were due to a pre-existing health condition and not work-related or were idiopathic in nature. This means the origin of the injury is unknown and cannot be accurately determined, making it non-compensable as a claim. The onus will then be on the employee to prove that the injury was indeed work-related.
This is why it is important to seek medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible and to keep copies of any medical records or notes which document your injuries. It can also be helpful to work with an experienced lawyer such as Paul Giannetti Albany Workers Compensation Lawyer who can help you collect the necessary medical evidence to prove your injury or disability.
You may accept or negotiate your workers’ comp settlement offer and this will depend largely on what you think is a fair amount to compensate you for your accident. When responding with a counteroffer you should provide evidence to support your claim for a higher payout.
For example, consult your doctor to ask whether your injuries will result in the need for continuing medical treatment or time off work. There may be the need for medications, surgeries or other treatments further down the line which you may not foresee without consulting an expert. A medical evaluation can serve as valuable evidence to support a case for greater coverage towards your medical expenses, helping to reduce your financial strain and avoiding the mistake of accepting a settlement that will not cover your future expenses.
If you cannot reach a settlement your case may go to a hearing before a workers’ comp judge. At this stage, or during negotiations, it’s helpful to hire a workers’ comp lawyer to ensure you are correctly represented and have put together a strong case. They will also be able to assist you with other matters such as submitting legal documents on time, preparing witness statements and in making opening and closing arguments before the judge. Depending on the nature of your injuries and the complexity of your claim, it may be in your best interests to work with a skilled workers’ comp lawyer who will ensure you receive a fair offer.
As this article has shown, these are some of the steps to expect when pursuing a workers’ comp claim.