If you get hurt on the job, your employer maybe required to pay you workers’ compensation benefits.
You may be entitled to Medical Care, Temporary total disability benefits,Temporary partial disability benefits,
Permanent partial disability benefits, Vocational rehabilitation benefits, or Death benefits.
The tips below only scratch the surface of possible pitfalls in the workers’ compensation system. It is your duty to find out what laws apply and whether your employer/insurance company are providing the proper benefits. Do not expect the insurance company to tell you about your rights. As a matter of fact an adjuster is not allowed to give you legal advice. It is your duty to get that information.
1. REPORT INJURY
Â§ Report you injury right away! Tell your supervisor and ask him/her to fill out a First Report of Alleged Occupational Illness Injury. Many times employers will not make a record of an injury until well after the date of accident. The lack of a record can hurt your claim. If you are getting hassled about filling out a report you should contact an attorney immediately.
2. GATHER INFORMATION
Â§ Write down the names of anyone who witnessed the accident and where the accident happened. Also if the accident involved any possible dangerous or defective product, save the product. You may be able to bring a separate claim against the manufacturer or distributor of that product.
3. CHOOSE YOUR OWN DOCTOR
Â§ In Nebraska there are rules about who chooses the doctor you see. You have the right to select a doctor who you (or an immediate family member) have seen before. If you do not have seen a doctor the employer may get to choose. Frequently an employer will not tell you about this right to choose your own doctor and simply send you to a company doctor. Without proper notice by the employer you may then have the right to select your own physician. If possible you should avoid company doctors and see your own family doctor. An attorney can help you with this process.
4. SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT IMMEDIATELY
Â§ It is very important that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible for two reasons. First is to get the best medical care available. Sometimes by waiting you will further injure yourself. Second is that you will create a medical record of what happened. If you delay treatment an insurance company can use that against you and even argue that you didn’t get hurt at work. The sooner the better.
5. DESCRIBE THE ACCIDENT
Â§ Always tell the doctor how the accident happened. Describe in detail when, where, how. The doctor will write down this information. You need this information recorded to help your claim.
6. REPORT ALL SYMPTOMS
Â§ No matter how minor it may seem, always report ALL symptoms to your doctor. If your neck AND back hurt, tell your doctor about both. The simplest way is to work from your head to your toes and report everything. However this does not mean exaggerate your symptoms. Be matter of fact and know that you are creating a record of your injuries.
7. RECORDED STATEMENTS
Â§ Never give a recorded statement without first talking to an attorney. Prior to taking recorded statements of injured workers, adjusters frequently meet with their attorneys to discuss how to ask questions. By allowing a recorded statement, you may be giving an insurance company ammunition to deny your claim. With you even knowing it. If you already have a recorded statement scheduled – talk to an attorney before you talk.
8. ABOUT CLAIMS ADJUSTERS/ NURSE MANAGERS
Â§ Be careful when you talk to adjusters. They are paid to keep claims down and the only way they can do that is at the expense of you. However you should always be polite when talking to an adjuster and you also have a duty to cooperate.
9. COMPANY DOCTORS
Â§ If you get a call from an adjuster or nurse manager that you need to see another doctor, call an attorney immediately. Seeing a company or defense doctor can seriously affect your claim. Company/defense doctors may disagree with the treatment you are receiving or the physical restrictions recommended by your treating doctor. The insurance company may then even has a reason to deny your claim. Also if your treating physician recommends a referral to a specialist, do not let the employer/insurance company pick the specialist. Talk to an attorney first.
10. TALK TO AN ATTORNEY
Â§ The sooner you talk to an attorney the better. You may not need an attorney to represent you but without first talking to one, you will never know.