Workplace injuries are a common occurrence. In Alabama alone, there are more than 800 claims filed for injuries in the workplace each week. The state’s worker’s compensation program is a mandated insurance program for most employers that is supposed to provide medical care, wage replacement, and other benefits should you become one of these statistics.
Unfortunately, receiving the benefits you are owed is not automatic. In many cases, you may have to fight to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. The best way to ensure that you won’t meet resistance when filing a claim is to know which things you should and shouldn’t do if you’ve been injured on the job.
What You Should Do If You’ve Been Hurt at Work
Worker’s compensation laws are specific, and your employer or their insurance company could use any number of factors to try to deny or minimize your claim. This is why your actions just after an accident are vital. Some of the things you should do if you’ve been hurt at work include:
- Report the injury. You should report the injury as soon as possible, even though state law gives you up to two years from the date of injury to file a claim. The longer you delay, however, the less valid your claim will appear.
- Ask for an accident report. Ask your employer to fill out an official accident report and provide you with a copy.
- Go to the doctor. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible after your injury. This is the best way to document your condition as well as obtain proof of any work restrictions. You may be required to see a doctor designated by your employer for this visit.
- Keep detailed records. Keep your own file that includes a copy of your accident report, any witness statements, other evidence, and copies of your medical documentation.
What You Shouldn’t Do If You’ve Been Injured on the Job
When you’ve been hurt at work, you are likely in pain but are also facing financial difficulty thanks to medical bills and the possibility of lost wages. You may have a perfectly legitimate claim, but there are several ways that you can jeopardize your case. Some of the things you should avoid if you’ve been injured at work include:
- Giving recorded or sworn statements. When an insurance provider asks for recorded or sworn statements, agreeing to this is not in your best interests.
- Not reporting all injuries. If you have more than one injury at work, make sure that you report them all as soon as possible. Holding back information is only going to hurt your case and your credibility.
- Anything that could be considered fraudulent. Even if you’ve been hurt at work, you must still be truthful with your employer and a medical provider. This means that you can’t hide facts about previous injuries or medical conditions. Also, if you are released to return to work and decide not to go back, your benefits could stop.
- Going to an unauthorized medical provider. If you cannot afford to pay for your own medical care, avoid choosing your own provider without first receiving authorization from the worker’s compensation insurer.
- Posting on social media. Avoid posting anything on social media about your employer or your accident. Just as with personal injury cases, defense attorneys can and will use this information to challenge your claim.
- Quickly signing a release or settlement agreement. Don’t sign any release of information or any other document that relates to settling your case without first consulting with a qualified worker’s compensation attorney about your rights.
Speak with An Experienced Alabama Worker’s Compensation Attorney
If you’ve been legitimately injured at work, you have a right to collect compensation benefits. Unfortunately, worker’s compensation laws can be complex, and an employer may resist your lawful claim in the fear that it will affect their rates.
Whether you have been denied worker’s compensation benefits or do not feel that you are receiving the level of care and treatment you deserve, the experienced Alabama worker’s compensation attorneys at Burge & Burge, PC can help. Contact our Birmingham office now at 205-251-9000 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.