If you were recently injured at work, there are certain actions you could take (or not take) that might jeopardize your workers’ compensation claim. The following article will provide some of the most common mistakes injured employees make after experiencing a workplace injury that can be detrimental to a workers’ compensation claim.
- Failing to report your injury within a timely manner: In Georgia, you are required to report your work-related injury to your employer within 30 days of the date the injury occurred. If you choose to wait longer than 30 days to report your injury, you may be unable to file a workers’ compensation claim later on.
- Failing to seek medical attention: After experiencing a work-related injury or illness, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. The timing regarding when you choose to seek medical attention can have a significant impact on your claim. Additionally, if you take too long to seek medical attention, your employer may assume that your injuries are not as serious as you claim.
- Failing to see an approved healthcare provider: Injured employees are required to see healthcare providers who have been pre-approved by their employers. After an employee notifies his employer of his injury, the employer is required to provide the employee with a list of approved healthcare providers. If you fail to see an approved healthcare provider, you could lose your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Returning to work before you have been cleared to do so: Returning to work too soon can be detrimental to both your health and your claim. You should only return to work after your physician has indicated that you have reached your “maximum medical improvement”.
- Engaging in physical activity too soon: If your physician has indicated that you should rest, you should strictly follow those orders. For example, you should not drive if you are instructed not to drive, and you should not exercise if you are instructed not to. Similar to the concept of returning to work too soon, engaging in physical activity too soon could be detrimental to both your health and your workers’ compensation claim.
- Posting about your work injury claim online: Posting certain pictures or information on social media could be problematic, as insurance companies will do their best to use your own photos and words against you. As such, you should resist the temptation to post about your injury or workers’ compensations claim on social media.
- Assuming that you are only eligible for workers’ compensation benefits: Workers’ compensation benefits are typically not the only type of compensation available to injured employees. For example, filing a personal injury claim could allow you to receive additional compensation (such as damage awards for lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and emotional trauma) that you would not be eligible to receive from filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you believe you are entitled to more than what you are being offered by the insurance company, you should consider consulting a personal injury attorney.