Workers’ Compensation 101: How to Successfully File a Claim
They say, “knowing is half the battle.” With workers’ compensation claims, knowing how and when to file is close to the whole battle – if not the war! Knisley Law Offices can help you process your claim, but we are also here to help you know how and when to take the first steps – getting medical attention, notifying your employer and seeking legal advice. Here’s a helpful introduction to getting started with the process.
Don’t Delay Getting Treatment
When you have a painful work-related injury, time is critical to the success of your Workers’ Comp claim. So if you’ve been injured or gotten sick recently because of a work-related incident, make sure you follow these steps:
- Notify your employer immediately. Record any potential witnesses and even bring them with you when you notify your employer.
- Get medical attention now. Delaying will cost you your health and possibly your benefits.
- Bring a family member or trusted friend to the appointment and have them take notes on the doctor’s diagnosis and advice.
- Make sure your doctor knows it is work-related and give a detailed account of the accident. Make sure you tell them all the parts of your body that hurt; documenting all of your injuries is essential. The doctor will then give you the correct forms to take back to your employer.
How to Know if You Have a Claim
Often, we see clients who are unsure if they have a claim or not. If you are an employee with any injury or illness that happens because of your work (known as “in the course of employment”), you are covered, with a few exceptions. Workers’ compensation doesn’t care if you were partially or largely at fault for what happened, unless you were drunk or under the influence of non-prescription drugs.
Injuries and illnesses that build up over time are also covered. Carpal Tunnel and other repetitive motion injuries can take a while to be noticed, as can cancers and other exposure illnesses. As soon as you miss work or see a doctor because of the injury or illness, the clock starts ticking to file the claim.
If you’re an independent contractor, you are usually not covered by your client’s workers’ compensation policy. You should speak to one of our lawyers if there is a possibility you are being incorrectly categorized as an independent contractor instead of an employee at your work.
Know What to Document With your Employer
Verbally telling your boss that you were injured “counts” for workers’ compensation law, but it may not be enough to help you win a claim. We highly advise employees to document injuries and illnesses in writing and bring a witness when informing your employer. How should you notify your employer? We recommend writing a letter to your employer outlining the injury, when it happened, and what medical treatment was required. Remember to be as detailed as possible in your recount. It’s also a good idea to include any medical forms provided by your doctor after your appointment.
Know When to File Through a Lawyer
While you aren’t required to use a lawyer to file a workers’ compensation claim in Ohio, using a team like Knisley Law Offices can help you get through the confusing process, assured that you are taking the right steps forward. By talking with an attorney early in the process, you can protect your rights and be more likely to receive all the benefits to which you’re entitled.
The most important rule for filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim is to act quickly. If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness and wonder if you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits, contact us today to discuss your case. We will help you understand your rights and take the correct steps forward in the filing process.