Insurance companies are not known for being eager to provide the deserved benefits of a workers’ compensation claim. You can expect an insurance company to use every opportunity to deny, delay, or undervalue a claim whenever possible. To try to minimize the number of chances an insurer has to complicate your claim, you should always document your workplace injury thoroughly.
Tell Your Employer as Soon as You Can
The first thing you should be certain to do after a workplace accident is to tell your employer. They need to know what happened to get you some help, notify other employees or customers about a possible hazard on the property, and get the necessary information for your workers’ compensation claim. It will be up to your employer to let their insurance provider know that there has been a workplace accident that will likely be met with a workers’ compensation claim filing.
Waiting too long to tell your employer about your accident can be problematic. It will give them and their insurer reason to doubt the validity of your claims if days or weeks go by before you say anything. You might also have as few as 14 days to get your claim filed, depending on where you live and the local workers’ comp laws.
There are situations in which telling your employer is somewhat secondary, though. If you get injured at work in front of other employees, then you can assume that your employer should find out about your accident on their own. Still, it is safer to take the steps needed to inform them yourself.
Photograph Your Injuries & Accident Scene
Once your employer knows about what happened, it is time to start thinking about how to get concrete evidence about your workplace accident. Photographs and video footage of the scene and your injuries remain as some of the most useful types of proof to use in a workers’ comp claim. It is difficult for an insurance company to refute the severity of an injury when shown images of it.
Pictures of the area surrounding where you were hurt can be useful if an insurance company tries to say you were roughhousing when injured. Seeing objective evidence of hazards in the area can add to your claim’s validity.
Speak with Your Coworkers
Sometimes the people who had the best perspective of an accident are not the ones injured in it. Instead, your coworkers might have had a clear view of what happened and why. Get them to write down what they saw soon after your accident and while their memories are fresh.
Again, liability should not be a factor in a workers’ compensation claim. Yet insurance companies sometimes try to argue that a case is invalid because the injured claimant was being unreasonably reckless at the time. Testimonies can help refute such challenges.
Get Copies of Your Medical Records
You also need to get copies of your medical records to truly document your injuries and the accident to the fullest. Whether you see your own medical provider or a doctor through the insurance company’s network, you can request a copy of your updated medical records that detail your injuries. There will likely be a filing fee for receiving the copy, but HIPAA regulations require those fees to be “reasonable” and minimal.
A study of your medical records can also prove that your injuries were not preexisting. Or, at the least, they were preexisting but became worsened due to your accident. Insurance companies often try to shut down workers’ comp claims by saying the injury did not happen on-the-job but in some prior situation instead.
Need help figuring out how to document and manage your workers’ compensation claim in Santa Clarita? Let the Law Offices of Wax & Wax be your legal guides. Our attorneys have more than 100 years of collective experience handling workers’ comp claims for people from all professionals and backgrounds. Call (818) 946-0608 when you can to see how we can help you.