Knowing how a workers’ comp settlement will work can help make the whole process less intimidating. It can also help you see how far along in the process you are, if there are any questions you would like to ask your lawyer or attorney, and help you know your rights and what is “normal” in these kinds of cases.
Though injury rates have been going down, the workers’ compensation process has stayed the same. Though the following procedure may vary a little, depending on your specific circumstances, these do cover all of the significant points.
Making the Initial Claim
First, you need to notify your employer that you have been injured or now have an illness of some kind due to work or a work-related issue.
This should be done immediately, or as soon as possible. If the wound is critical, you may need to seek immediate medical attention and file an official report, or request that one is recorded on your behalf, at a later time.
Next, you need to make sure you have had proper medical care from a qualified medical provider.
Here, you need to make it clear that your injury or illness is related to your work, providing as many details as possible. This should be recorded in your medical history or a report.
The facility where you are treated or the physician you see will, most likely, be designated by your employer. You may then go to see your own personal physician if you choose to do so.
It’s important to note that you should notify your employer through email, a written letter (with date and signature), or another physical medium where both of you retain a copy. Any official forms must also be completed as soon as possible. This includes the RWA (Report of Work Ability) form you should have received from your doctor or the recommended physician.
In addition to submitting these forms and keeping copies for your personal records, you should take note of any experiences related to your claim up until you have received compensation and returned to work.
While it may not seem critical for minor injuries, you never know if something is worse than it looks, or another unforeseen set of circumstances will arise later.
The Initial Decision
Once a report from a medical professional and your employer have been submitted to the insurance carrier responsible for your case, the insurance company will determine if the illness or injury is “compensable” or if you will receive benefits.
If it is determined that you will receive benefits of some kind, further investigation and negotiation may occur. This is to determine the length of recovery if any permanent disability is present if you will lose work time or potential wages, and resolve any related issues.
In most cases, with minor injuries, the medical bills noted in the claim or suit are paid, and the worker returns to work with no further discussion needed.
Denial and Appeal
If you are denied compensation, you will be responsible for the medical bills and treatment costs.
It is possible to apply for a hearing or appeal to have your case investigated in more detail or if you happen to know of a mistake in the initial claims process.
Returning to Work After a Major Illness or Injury
For minor injuries, returning to work may be something that happens as soon as the day after the incident. In cases like there, very little preparation is needed.
However, for major illnesses or injuries, or conditions that have led to partial disability, returning to work may be a significant event.
While in most cases you will be expected to perform at the same level, many companies may offer you a temporary job in another area until you have fully recovered or if your injury was related to your previous work environment.
If you are entirely unable to return to your previous job, it’s possible that some benefits or types of compensation may be given to seeking additional training or a similar supplemental program that will allow you to find another job.
These benefits are referred to as “vocational rehabilitation services.” In some cases, you are even eligible for this type of compensation if you choose to accept a settlement.
Work-related injuries are straining. They place a burden on you mentally and physically. And, they affect your family as well. Don’t take them lightly.
The less you work, the less money you make. Without income, your bills can pile up. Before you know it, you are buried in debt and still unable to work because you are injured.
It makes sense to protect yourself and your family from the worked related injury cycle. This is why you need to contact the best workmen’s comp attorney in your area to help you navigate the process.
Your family is depending on you, so don’t hesitate. Reach out now if you’ve been hurt.