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Workers’ Compensation Mistakes

Most workers know that if they are injured on the job, they will likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits cover all medical expenses for treatment of the injuries and they cover a large percentage of the injured employee’s normal wages or salary for missed time from work due to time needed to recover from those injuries.

 

What workers may not realize is that it is common for workers’ compensation claims to not go so smoothly, especially if the worker does not have a workers’ comp attorney representing them. Mistakes on the part of the employee can only compound these issues and the injured worker can find themselves with much less compensation than they were entitled to or have their claim denied completely.

 

Failure to Report the Claim within a Certain Time Frame

 

Each state sets its own workers’ compensation regulations, but all set a time limit regarding how long an injured worker has to report an injury to the employer. This can vary anywhere between 30 to 90 days, depending on the type of injury or illness it is. Failure to do so will result in a claim being denied, leaving the worker responsible for all medical expenses and no wage replacement.

This is why all accidents or incidents should be reported to an employer immediately, even if the worker does not think they have suffered an injury.

 

Failure to Disclose Prior Injuries

 

Another common mistake an injured worker can make is to not let the employer or workers’ compensation insurance company about any other prior work injuries they may have sustained in the past. Many workers in this position are fearful that if they disclose this information, they may be accused of fraud and will not only have their claim denied, but they may also lose their job.

 

However, failure to disclose is considered fraud. If an injured worker receives benefits and then it is later discovered they did not disclose prior injuries, they will not only lose future compensation, they will likely be required to pay back any of the financial benefits they have already received, including payment of all medical expenses.

 

Therefore, to avoid this situation, it is critical to be completely honest when answering physicians’ questions, filling out medical history forms, or speaking with the insurance adjuster. Even if the new injury has nothing to do with the old injury, the information still needs to be disclosed.

 

There is high probability – depending on the circumstances – that the insurance company will try to use the prior injury against the worker in denying or minimizing benefits, however, a qualified workers’ comp attorney has vast experience in overcoming those types of objections. Keep in mind it is much easier to defend a claim under those circumstances than to try to defend a claim against a failure to disclose charge.

 

There are many other mistakes an injured worker may make that could affect their claim. A West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorney can offer much more detail and guidance on issues to avoid and how to proceed with your claim.

Thank you to the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig, & Neuwelt for providing their insight on workers compensation.

 


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