By the time that injured workers contact a Columbus workers’ compensation attorney, they may have already committed several errors that may hurt your case. In the end, we may be able to help you win the benefits you deserve while you recover from your injuries. However, the process will be more complex, and you may receive less money than you deserve.
For this reason, we decided to prepare a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts related to workers’ compensation in Ohio. These items cover the most frequent situations we encounter during the free case review with a potential client. Our goal is to help every injured worker get their rightful benefits. But, in order to do so, you must also respect several rules of the workers’ compensation program.
Steps to Take for Workers’ Comp Benefits
We will start this article with the dos. Any Columbus workers’ compensation attorney knows that these simple things can make the difference between getting your claim approved from the start and having to file an appeal.
Do: Seek Medical Assistance as Soon as Possible after the Accident
A work-related injury or condition must be diagnosed by a licensed healthcare professional. Also, you have a requirement to mitigate tour damages – that is, to do what any reasonable person would do to limit the severity and extent of their injuries.
Even if you are not immediately in pain, you should still ask to be taken to the nearest ER. You may have serious internal injuries that need immediate care. Also, the attending doctor’s report will confirm your injuries and record the date and time when you were examined. If this date is several days after your accident, your employer is very likely to deny your workers’ compensation claim.
Do: Take the Drug Test Mandated by Your Employer
Once you informed your employer that you were injured and leave to seek medical attention, you will be required to take a drug test. You must not refuse this test, because it represents grounds for your claim to be denied.
If you know that you were using prescription medication that was legally prescribed to you, report this to your employer. Also, don’t forget to mention this aspect to your Columbus workers’ compensation attorney. Unfortunately, if you were using recreational drugs, you do not have a valid case.
Do: Inform the Employer’s Insurance Company
An injured worker must report the incident to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) by filling in the First Report of Injury, Occupational Disease, or Death form. As you do so, also send a copy to your employer’s insurance company.
Although it is their obligation to report any workplace accident resulting in injury, not all employers do so. You should not rely on the fact that they will do the right thing and help you get the workers’ compensation benefits.
Do: Remember That You Can Choose Your Own Doctor for Treatments
Your employer may require you to undergo a medical evaluation performed by a doctor of their choice. But this does not mean that you should see this doctor for all treatments and follow-up checkups.
A doctor paid by your employer may tend to side with them, in terms of:
- Downplaying the severity of your injuries
- Declaring that you are fit to return to work sooner than it would be safe to do so
- Ignoring your claims that you are in pain.
Plus, you want to feel comfortable and safe when discussing your treatment and recovery outlook, so go to a doctor of your choice.
Do: Disclose Any Pre-Existing Condition
This is something that you must do in all circumstances:
- During the evaluation by the employer-approved doctor
- During the initial treatment at the ER
- During the free case review with an Ohio workers’ compensation attorney.
Any old injury or medical condition will be found by the insurance adjuster evaluating your claim. If you fail to be honest and upfront about them, your claim may be denied on the grounds that you were already injured.
Avoid Making These Workers’ Compensation Mistakes
Now it is time to list some of the don’ts that you must avoid at all costs:
Don’t Discuss With an Insurance Adjuster on Your Own
Once a workplace accident is duly reported, you will be contacted by an adjuster representing your employer’s insurance company. They do not have any interest in getting your claim approved.
This is why they will try to make you say anything that could hurt your case. Any admission of fault or being negligent in performing your work when you got injured could lead to your claim being denied. Make sure that you have an Ohio workers’ compensation attorney by your side during this discussion.
Don’t Interrupt Your Treatment
You are not free from any duties once your claim was approved. You will be constantly monitored by the insurance company in terms of:
- Following the doctor’s recommendations
- Going for follow-up checkups
- Refilling your prescriptions.
If you stop the treatment, you will likely lose the benefits. After all, you are compensated for all your medical costs.
Don’t: Take Up a Part-Time Job While Out of Workers’ Comp Benefits
Some workers feel that they can make extra money by taking up a light-duty part-time position elsewhere while they are on workers’ comp benefits. With very few and rare exceptions, this is illegal.
Your employer may terminate you and pursue you for the repayment of the wage replacement amounts. Being out on worker’s comp means that you need to rest in order to get better. Also, your employer pays you a part of your wages and all your medical costs during this period.
Let an Experienced Workers’ Comp Law Firm Handle Your Claim
Ohio Workers’ Compensation Lawyers are here to help all injured workers file a claim successfully and receive the benefits they deserve. No one wants to stay at home instead of earning wages, but employers don’t see things in this light.
Your best chance is a Columbus workers’ compensation attorney who will analyze your case carefully and give you reliable legal advice. Remember that everyone must follow rules, including the injured party, so get in touch with us before you may make a mistake that would hurt your case.
Call us at 833-406-0060 to schedule your free case review!