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What Is The Process of Filing for Workers' Compensation?

  • Being hurt on the job can turn your life upside down. You may find yourself dealing with piles of medical bills, pain from your injury, and the stress of not being able to work while you heal. Thankfully, if you have been injured on the job, you may be able to file for workers' compensation. This can help take the stress from you and your family as you heal from your injury and rebuild your life. But what exactly is the process you need to follow to file for workers' compensation? The answer is that it varies somewhat from state-to-state, but there is an overall process to keep in mind.


    1) You need to notify your employer of the accident as soon as you can. This notification needs to be in writing. The sooner you notify your employer, the more believable your claim will be, so don't waste any time getting this done. Ask your employer if they have a specific doctor or medical facility you should visit to have your injuries treated. This is important, because you will need medical documentation of your injuries, and your documentation may not be accepted if it comes from an out-of-network provider.


    2) Once you have notified your employer of the injury, your employer will send you the paperwork you need to fill out. Some states also require that you file paperwork with your state's workers' compensation agency, in addition to the paperwork you file for your employer. Check the laws of your state to make sure you've covered all of your bases. You will want to fill out any paperwork sent to you and return it to your employer as quickly as possible. Different states have different time limits for this process, but faster is always better, as it makes your case look urgent.


    3) At this point, your employer's insurance agency will take a look at your claim. This step could take several weeks. Based on state laws, company policies, medical documentation etc., they will decide to either accept or deny your claim. If your claim is accepted, you should begin receiving compensation within one month. 


    4) If your claim is denied, you have two options. You can accept this decision, or, you can file an appeal. If you decide you file an appeal, you may want to get some legal help. Why? Well, as Bennett J. Schiller, III, a Workers Compensation Lawyer in Rock Hill, SC, explains, the job of insurance companies is to protect their client's assets and interests, not yours. So the people deciding whether to accept or deny your claim are trying to protect your employer, not you, the injured worker. A good personal injury lawyer with experience in workers' compensation cases can help you understand the laws of your state and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.


    These are the basic steps of filing a workers' compensation claim. If you've been hurt on the job and it is negatively impacting your life, don't wait to file a claim, and don't hesitate to file an appeal if your claim is denied. If you were hurt due to your employer's negligence, you deserve compensation to help you get your life back on track.