In 2015, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers' Compensation recorded 166,102 reported cases of work-related injuries and illnesses. However, each year, a large number of workers' compensation claims get denied. While you would think that the process for receiving benefits would be straightforward, too often it becomes mired in confusion, and as a result, many rightful workers' compensation claims are denied by employers or their insurance companies. The following are three tips for handling the process for workers' compensation claims:
1. Report your injury to your employer and co-workers and preserve witness accounts.
If you have suffered a workplace injury or illness, the best course of action is to report the case soon afterward to your co-workers and your supervisor and to complete an accident report. You have 21 days to make the report. If you delay reporting, you may not be able to receive workers' compensation benefits, or your claim may be barred altogether. Make sure that you are consistent with your report of your injury to all parties. Insurers tend to deny claims where there were inconsistent reports. If there are any witnesses to the event, be sure to preserve their accounts of what took place.
2. Seek medical care and maintain records.
It is critical that you seek medical care immediately after a workplace injury or at the first signs of illness. Consistency between what you report to your employer as well as to co-workers and doctors is crucial, so make sure you are recalling the event correctly to everyone. Also, keep organized records of all medical reports, documents you receive and anything related to how the injury impacted your work, all of which are important to the claims process.
3. Work with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer.
Given the many pitfalls to avoid in the workers' compensation process, it is useful to work with a lawyer who specializes in workers' compensation law. Always speak to your lawyer before giving any statements to the insurer, as everything you say may be potentially used as a justification to reduce or deny your claim.
If you have suffered a work-related illness or injury, it is important that you reach out to an experienced workers' compensation attorney to help ensure that the claims process goes smoothly. Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. brings over 70 years of combined experience helping injured workers throughout southeastern Pennsylvania secure the compensation to which they are entitled. Call our office toll free at 866-967-8935 to set up a free consultation.