Getting worker’s compensation for an accident sounds easy enough. You fill out paperwork and wait for a response. It’s a lot more convoluted than that and unless you have a legal background, you could be denied what is rightfully yours. If you are faced with a situation in which you need to file, let’s take a look at what happens when you do.
Seek Professional Assistance
Filing a claim and providing documentation in a timely manner is crucial. Each state defines their own statute of limitations for filing a claim and it typically ranges from one year to three. Paperwork is easy to obtain from your state worker’s compensation board but we recommend you get a lawyer. Why? Worker’s compensation is insurance for the employer to be able to cover their employee’s financial needs when dealing with an on-the-job injury. It also means that they will look for every way possible to lessen their liability and bottom line. Without a lawyer, they can try to deny you or give you very little. You have bills racking up, lost time at work, and other issues looming over you while you try to recuperate. A lawyer will look out for you and what you need. Look for one who specializes in worker’s compensation and is local to the area in which the accident took place or the home base of the company, such as worker’s compensation lawyers in the Bronx. If you already filed and were denied, hire a lawyer to review the case because you are able to appeal the decision!
The Waiting Game
Unfortunately, there isn’t always a quick decision and quick payout for injuries. Depending on the state that you reside in (or the state that the company resides in), you could see some money within a couple weeks after a decision. It’s the waiting game for that decision that makes it the hardest. States dictate how long an insurance company has to review. For instance, California gives the insurance companies 90 days to review a case. There can be temporary payments made during the review period for hospital stays but it may come at a low amount until the review is completed and a decision made. It can mean a lot of waiting. We have heard that employing a lawyer to help you can sometimes speed things up because they know the laws far better and can put legal pressure on a company to resolve the issue.
Once the decision is made, it could be home free for you. Temporary payments made during a review will be deducted from the amount awards. Depending on the nature of your case will depend on how you receive your payments. Plenty of people get a lump sum up front. Others, for more serious cases that cause employees to be out of work permanently, may be able to get an annuity for a couple of years or longer. If you are unable to work because of a permanent disability, you can also hire a disability lawyer to review all of your options and getting your needs fulfilled. Disability is another monster and can take a lot longer than a worker’s compensation situation.
During the processing of your claim, do all you can to focus on your healing. Eat a well-balanced diet, take your medications as prescribed, and follow all your physical therapy requirements. Getting stronger each day is the most important part of the battle.
About the author: Kat is a San Diego based freelance writer who enjoys writing on a wide variety of fitness and entertainment topics. In her free time Kat enjoys the beach and playing volleyball with family and friends.