After you’ve been injured at work, you are left wondering how to pay your household bills, besides the already high medical bills for your injury. Workers’ compensation is a payment system that allows you to pay for medical treatment and provides a partial wage replacement until they are well enough to return to work. However, these compensations are handled by workers’ compensation insurance companies that have an interest in avoiding large payments to claimants like you.
Here are some practical tips on what to watch out for to get the most out of your workers’ comp claim, as well as some ideas on how to earn some side income meanwhile.
1. Report Injury Immediately And Get Prompt Medical Treatment
If you’re hurt on-the-job or while conducting business it is urgent to report it to the employer right away and seek immediate medical treatment. There are usually certain deadlines for reporting a work-related injury, but it is advised to not even wait that long. Besides leading to a quicker, fuller recovery prompt medical care also serves as important medical evidence. Your workers’ comp claim will document your accident and describe your all injuries and physical restrictions. If you delay this even by one day, medical insurance might state that you weren’t hurt seriously enough, or even argue if the injury happened at work.
2. Consider Changing The Doctor
Injured workers are usually treated with a doctor chosen by the insurance company, which leads to a similar problem. As these doctors are paid by insurance companies they probably won’t always have your best interests in mind, and might even try to minimize your injuries so that the insurance company won’t have to pay you that much. You have the right to be given an honest evaluation and disability rating for your injuries, it might be a good idea to switch to a doctor that is not connected to the insurance company. Every country has its own rules and procedures for changing doctors, so if possible it is strongly advised to consider this option.
3. Understand Your Available Benefits
The Injured workers must understand all the available benefits through the workers’ compensation system. While each country has its own rules for eligibility and amounts, there are general benefits you should be aware of. This includes medical treatment, mileage (expenses of taking a trip to and from the doctor’s office), vocation rehabilitation, and permanent and temporary disability benefits. Temporary disability benefits are paid while you are off work and still recovering, while in case of permanent disability you get compensation for lasting physical impairments.
4. Be Well Prepared for Your IME
An independent medical examination (IME) is not a regular examination focus on treating your injury. This exam is done by the insurance company doctors to give the insurance company an expert opinion on your health status and the ability to get back to work and stop collecting benefits. You have to show up to every appointment or else the benefits get terminated immediately. It is a good idea to also get professional legal help from tatelawoffices.com/work-injury-lawyer/, as the questions from the IME doctors may be quite tricky, and you will need to be well prepared.
5. Don’t Forget You Are Being Watched
If the insurance company will do anything to put your credibility into question, they may go far enough to hire private investigators to follow you around the clock. This means that you will be watched at home and in public places, even followed on social media. They will do whatever it takes to catch you doing something that contradicts your workers’ compensation claim. With today’s technologies, it is not hard to make a video that can easily be misinterpreted and used against you, even if the truth is the opposite.
6. Create Additional Income Aside
Besides doing your best to get the most out of your compensation claim, you can try creating some side income, if the nature of your injury allows it. If you have some marketable skills, such as copywriting, design, or language tutoring, you could take up a freelance job. In case you have a spare room at your house, you may consider renting it out and thus getting both a bit of money and a new company during your recovery. In case you are a pet lover and are physically able to handle watching a pet while injured, you can make extra income by pet-sitting at your home.
These few tips should give you some guidance on what to expect and how to prepare yourself best for the legal battle you are about to face. However, it is advised to have an expert attorney by your side in these situations, to help you minimize the loss over the insurance company and make the most out of your compensation claim.