Many hurt workers are not prepared for the flood of documentation that can accompany a workers' compensation claim for benefits. While this form of insurance is helpful to those hurt on the job, not all claim processes go smoothly, and keeping your paperwork together may make all the difference between a successful claim experience and a financial disaster. Read on to find out how to get your claim paperwork organized and ready to go.
Benefits to Expect
In most states, workers can expect to have their medical needs met with no out-of-pocket expenses. Also, the employer's workers' comp insurer will provide the worker with a disability wage while they are out of work. Finally, permanently injured workers may be offered a lump-sum settlement if they are unable to return to their job.
Tips for Organization
- Use a file folder for your paperwork, including copies of all claim forms and correspondence from your employer, medically-related paperwork, and documents from the insurer.
- If your case is complicated, try using an accordion file holder. This not only lets you divide the documents up into categories but is easy to take with you when you visit your lawyer or attend a hearing.
- Keep everything you receive and keep notes of your own too. Make notes of each conversation you have in person or on the phone. Note the time, date, who you spoke with, and what was discussed.
Take a look at just some of the documents you might expect to encounter with a workers' comp claim.
- Medical treatment info — You have to have medical care and the sooner you receive it the more valid your claim will be. Keep all doctor's notes, orders, test results, prescriptions, and more.
- Workers' compensation claim form — Be sure to read the form over carefully before signing it. Pay particular attention to details like dates, times, and witnesses to the accident. Keep a copy of the signed form and submit the original to the workers' comp carrier.
Denial of benefits
If you later encounter problems with the claim, such as a benefits denial, check the form for easily corrected mistakes and phone the carrier. If you cannot get your claim approved, speak to a workers' compensation lawyer.
Appeals and Mediation
Many states require the hurt worker and the insurer to face each other over a conference table before an appeal hearing. Don't discard any correspondence and keep up with the dates for responding to requests for additional information and deadlines for other issues.
You may need to consult with a workers' compensation lawyer to get the benefits you deserve and need. Speak to a workers' compensation attorney about your rights and the process for getting your claim back on track.