The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that 3 million nonfatal workplace accidents occurred in 2012. That adds up to 3.5 injured workers out of every 100 full-time workers. With these statistics in mind, it's easy to understand just how many workers need to file claims for workers compensation. Yet the process of filing workers comp claims can be difficult for those who have never had to do it before, but with the help of a reliable work comp attorney, you can be well on your way to receiving the workers comp settlement you deserve. However, in order to give your claim the best possible chance of success, there are some steps that you must take on your own. To that end, here are just a few mistakes to avoid when filing a workers compensation claim.
Delaying seeking medical help This is an important step to take right after you get injured, not days or weeks later. Delaying medical treatment can weaken your claim because it may suggest to your employer (and your employer's lawyers) that your injury wasn't as serious as it actually may have been. But, more importantly, you really could have a serious injury that should be treated as soon as possible! In fact, in 2011 alone, 4,609 Americans died on the job as the result of workplace accidents. The bottom line is that there's absolutely no good reason to delay seeking medical treatment after you get hurt on the job. Not telling your employer about the incident There are a number of reasons that can compel workers to avoid telling their employers about their injuries after an accident. They often think they may not have a claim, or they think it's unnecessary because it didn't actually cause them to have to take time off of work. However, there are legal reporting requirements that must be met, so it is essential that you tell your employer about any workplace injury you sustain. These reasons may sound logical, but the fact remains that regardless of the reason you think you may have, it's always in your best interest to tell your employers about all the details of your injuries as soon as the accident occurs. Ignoring pre-existing conditions Another issue that commonly arises is that workers feel as though they can't report their injuries because the workplace accident worsened an already existing condition. A slightly less common reason workers may hesitate to tell employers about injuries is because they don't always come from one particular isolated incident; many occur over long periods of time. However, after years or even decades performing the same job, injuries may appear slowly over time. However, if your work caused a pre-existing condition to worsen, you may still qualify for workers compensation. Ultimately, workers comp laws can be difficult to navigate, and a work comp attorney is the key to helping you avoid these mistakes and get the settlement you deserve.