Missteps That May Hurt Your Chances of Recovering Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you’ve been injured on the job, navigating the workers’ compensation process can seem overwhelming. Michigan law protects workers by requiring employers to have workers’ compensation insurance, but the claims system has a number of hurdles to overcome.
It’s easy for injured workers to make some common mistakes and lose out on valuable compensation and benefits if you try to obtain workers compensation on your own. You need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you with your claim, even if your work injury seems straightforward.
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation, the injured employee must report the injury to the employer within 90 days of the date of the injury. For gradual injuries such as repetitive motion injuries, the employee must report it within 90 days of when he or she should have known about the injury.
In Michigan, workers’ compensation claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. This means that you must file an initial claim for damages, including medical bills and lost wages, within two years of the date of the accident.
There may also be additional deadlines for submitting additional paperwork after your initial claim. Missing a deadline could cause your case to be thrown out entirely, so it’s critical to enlist the help of a lawyer to help you understand all of the deadlines.
Not Seeking Medical Care
Failing to seek medical treatment for an injury seriously undermines your ability to get workers’ compensation. Without a diagnosis from a doctor, your chances of winning compensation drop to almost zero. Medical documentation is one of the main pieces of evidence for claims, even if the main goal of your claim is to file for lost wages.
This is especially true for invisible injuries, like back pain and repetitive motion injuries. You may need to see multiple specialists in order to properly document the extent of your injuries. Even if you haven’t filed a claim yet, healthcare providers can usually hold off on billing your insurance if you let them know that the injury is work-related.
Delaying a visit to the doctor may make it more difficult for them to diagnose and treat you before the injury gets worse. Plus, your employer may use your delay in obtaining care as evidence that your injury wasn’t that serious.
Filing Claims without Hiring a Lawyer
The claims process sometimes requires multiple types of forms and evidence. Even basic claims can be undermined by a failure to fill out forms correctly, or by not submitting all information that helps your case.
Again, an experienced lawyer is the best route for claims. The Michigan workers’ compensation system is complex and full of unique terminology that applies differently to various types of injuries. Hire an attorney to avoid hurting your own case and losing out on compensation for you and your family.
Signing Paperwork without a Lawyer
Injury-related paperwork from your employer or their insurance company should never be signed without an attorney’s approval, especially if it pertains to your return to workers compensation cases. Even if a piece of paper looks benign, it may have serious implications for your future claims including your ability to return to work.
Some paperwork may contain implications regarding the seriousness of your injuries, so even if they seem short and informal, do not sign them before you show them to an attorney. They may even undermine your ability to get compensation for a doctor-mandated treatment plan.
Posting on Social Media
Although social media postings are usually harmless, they can potentially cause complications in your workers’ comp case. Showing yourself performing certain tasks and activities may undermine your injury case. This is true even if your photographs or posts are from vacations or activities that are not work-related.
You may also hurt your case by mentioning the injury or accident directly. If you feel the need to reassure friends and relatives of your safety, talk to them individually with guidance from your lawyer.
Colleagues in particular are a risk, because they may misunderstand something you say and repeat it to a manager who ends up trying to hurt your case. Avoid posting any images where your colleagues can see them until your case has been fully resolved.
How to Maximize your Chances of Winning
You need a lawyer on your side to help you get the compensation you deserve without costly mistakes. No matter what kind of injury you have or what the cause was, there may be unexpected obstacles to your case.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help you overcome those obstacles as you focus on your recovery. We can assist you with every step of the legal process and help you collect the evidence you need.
Senior partner and nurse attorney Eileen Kroll has extensive medical knowledge and can ensure you get the representation you deserve. Contact us today at (866) 868-3779 for a free consultation. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win a settlement for you.