5 mistakes to avoid when you need workers’ compensation benefits
Given that workers’ compensation benefits protect everyone from sanitation specialists to line cooks, you might think that the claims process would be foolproof. Unfortunately, there are many mistakes that can delay the payment of someone’s claim or even force them into a lengthy appeals process.
If you just got hurt at work or your doctor diagnoses you with a condition that stems from your job responsibilities, you need to avoid the five mistakes below that could impact your benefit rights.
Not notifying your employer
One of the most common mistakes people make, especially if they get diagnosed at their doctor’s office, is the failure to notify an employer about an injury or medical condition.
If you don’t report the matter quickly, your delay can make you ineligible for benefits. You generally need to notify your employer within 45 days to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois.
You may think that it is clear that you were to blame for your injury. After all, you ran across the factory floor and then slipped, falling and breaking your arm. Although workers’ compensation is a no-fault benefits system, it is best not to admit that you are directly to blame for the injury.
Pointing out that proper cleaning and maintenance would have prevented that puddle that you slipped in would be a better approach than assuming the blame yourself.
Declining medical treatment
If a doctor recommends physical therapy, certain medication or even surgery, it is in your best interest to follow their advice. Workers who do not follow medical instructions may eventually lose benefits because their non-compliance contributes to their medical condition.
Trying to work through your symptoms
If a doctor recommends that you take a leave of absence from work or adjust what tasks you perform, you should take their suggestions seriously. Otherwise, your condition might get worse, and your non-compliance could affect your right to benefits.
Settling a case for too little
If the insurance company offers you a settlement, their goal is most likely to reduce what they have to pay you. You need to have a realistic understanding of the benefits you could receive and the long-term financial impact of your injury to negotiate an appropriate settlement.
Many people will struggle to handle the complexities of a workers’ compensation claim and may require professional help to get the benefits they need. Avoiding common workers’ compensation claim mistakes and learning more about the program will help you after a workplace injury.