What Should an Injured Worker Do After Their Injury?

What Should an Injured Worker Do After Their Injury?

There is no doubt that employers HATE work injuries. So what is an injured worker to do…? Stay quiet about her injury for fear that her employer becomes angry at her and in retaliation reduces her hours, changes her duties to something undesirable, or makes the work environment hostile. OR should the injured worker report her injury immediately regardless of her employer’s response because if the injury turns out to be serious and requires medical treatment and lost time from work then she will need to have it covered under workers compensation? 

Many injured workers wrongly take the wait-and see approach. With this approach, they hope that the pain or symptoms are no more than a mere strain or sprain and will improve after a few days. If not then they will worry about reporting it later. 

While this wait-and-see approach may seem like a logical compromise, it will hurt the injured worker if the injury turns out to more serious than originally thought. Not reporting the accident promptly, allows the employer to question the workers credibility which could lead to denial of medical treatment, benefits for missed time from work, and loss of a monetary award based on the permanent injury. Moreover, your private health carrier may also deny coverage of medical treatment if claimed as a work injury as such treatment is the responsibility of the workers compensation insurance carrier. Now the worker is in a Catch 22 predicament. 

What about if the employer has a policy requiring strict internal deadlines for reporting accidents, such as within 24 hours of the injury, which the worker deliberately did not follow? Now the employee can be reprimanded and her credibility and job security is jeopardized. 

Ultimately, the injured worker needs to report a work injury to avoid this Catch 22 predicament. When reporting the injury, always do it in writing and get a copy of your written report. Every reputable employer has an Accident Report Form. If no form can be found, draft your own report. Details such as who, what, where, when, how, and why are easily remembered when describing the injury. Details such as dates and times are always crucial. Keep a photocopy of what you report to the employer. If the employer refuses to provide a copy, use your smart phone to take a picture of it. When it comes to a workers compensation injury, document, document, document! Keep a journal with dates, times, witnesses, specifics as to how the injury occurred, and medical appointments because your memory will fade over time. Again, smart phones have lots of apps to keep details documented for you, such as voice recorders, cameras, note taking, calendars, etc. 

Even if you are late in reporting an injury, you should still follow these recommendations. Remember, better late than never. 

Wisconsin law protects injured workers. Mays Law Office and Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays are here for you. Call for a free and immediate consultation. Everything we discuss is confidential. We proudly represent the Wisconsin injured worker. See testimonials from our clients. 

 

After a Work Injury, do not Expect a Motherly Hug from the Workers Compensation Insurance Company

After a Work Injury, do not Expect a Motherly Hug from the Workers Compensation Insurance Company

While some injured workers are treated fairly in Wisconsin, most unfortunately are not. Most injured workers are treated rudely, even with skepticism as to whether they truly were hurt. One could even ask if Adjusters are trained to belittle the Wisconsin injured worker. Dont put up with it, call Mays Law Office at (866)257-0440 for a free consultation and tips on what the workers compensation carrier won’t tell you, such as… 

You are entitled to 100% reimbursement for medical mileage to/from doctor and therapy appointments

If you are getting a lost time benefit (also called TTD benefit), is the average weekly wage calculated correctly – most are not; 

You can choose your own doctor/medical provider – never treat with the “company doctor

If instructed to see an IME or socalled “Independent Medical Examinerthere is nothing “independentabout this exam. You have rights on how to handle these insurance-paid exams

Nurses assigned to attend your medical appointments do not have the automatic right to come into your exams or guide your medical treatment; 

Employers have to offer you accommodating work that meets your physical restrictions while healing from a work injury, if not then a losttime benefit needs to be paid to you for missing work; 

If your injury is severe enough to cause permanent disability and you have lost your job, or an equivalent paying job, then likely you are eligible to pursue Retraining or a loss of Earning Capacity 

Claim; 

If your injury is severe enough that it leaves you disfigured, such as a serious scar, limp, amputation then you are entitled to an additional benefit called Disfigurement

Be cautious – don’t let the workers compensation insurance carrier stall, claiming week after week that they are “investigating” your injury. Likely, if the claim takes more than two weeks to investigate then it will be denied. Call Mays Law Office immediately. Never accept a denial of your work injury without calling or Emailing Mays Law Office first, Ipmays@mayslaw.net 

After I Suffer a Work Injury at Work, When Should I Call an Attorney? 

After I Suffer a Work Injury at Work, When Should I Call an Attorney? 

At Mays Law Office, Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays is happy to talk to you at any time during the workers compensation process. However, there are crucial moments when you absolutely need to talk to us, such as: 

Call an attorney if the employer refuses to believe that you were injured at work or refuses to file the accident claim with their workers compensation carrier; 

Call an attorney if the employer fires you for reporting a work injury

Call an attorney if two weeks passes after your work injury and you have received no benefits for either lost time from work or payment of your medical bills; 

Call an attorney before going to any doctor appointment set up by the workers compensation carrier, especially if they claim it is an Independent Medical Examination.” This is false and nothing about it is independent or fair

Call an attorney if the workers compensation doctor disagrees with your doctor and the insurance company stops paying for your medical treatment or tells you to not follow the advice of your own doctor; 

Call an attorney if you cannot work and now the workers compensation carrier is not paying you a lost time benefit

Call an attorney if the workers compensation carrier wants you to sign a document in exchange for a money settlement; 

Call an attorney if you have physical restrictions and can do some level of work but the employer refuses to allow you back and now the workers compensation carrier is not paying you a lost time benefit

Call an attorney if your injury is so severe that you have concerns that you will never be well enough to return to the same type of employment. 

Lastly, always feel welcome to call Mays Law Office at any time you have questions. At Mays Law office, you will talk to a Wisconsin attorney who concentrates their practice in representing injured workers. At Mays Law Office you will work with an attorney, not just an assistance or paralegal. Have a question, Call (608)2570440 or Toll Free (866)2570440 or E-mail Ipmays@mayslaw.net 

Can You File for Workers’ Comp if You Got Injured Working at Home in Wisconsin?

Can You File for Workers’ Comp if You Got Injured Working at Home in Wisconsin?

These days, more people than ever are working from home. While most employees who work at home spend their time in front of a computer, accidents can still lead to injuries. These injuries can be expensive, and they can make it difficult (if not impossible) to do your job.

So, if you got injured while working at home in Wisconsin, are you eligible for workers’ comp?

Employees Who Work at Home are Generally Eligible for Workers’ Comp

In general, employees who work at home are eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits when they get injured on the job. Employers cannot avoid liability for job-related injuries simply by having their employees work from home. While many work-at-home injuries result from slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents, accidents involving tools and equipment are common as well, and many employees are just as susceptible to repetitive stress injuries at home as they are in the office. As long as an injury is job-related (and an employee otherwise qualifies for benefits), it doesn’t matter where the injury occurs.

But, this does not mean that filing a successful workers’ comp claim will be easy. Among other issues, there is a good chance that your employer (or its insurance company) will question whether your injury is truly work-related. If you file a claim because you slipped and fell in the bathroom, for example, your employer (or its insurance company) may argue that you can’t prove you fell during work time. What if you fell before your workday started? What if you were taking a break from working (and not simply going to the bathroom in the middle of working)? If you can’t prove that you were “at work” when the accident happened, you will struggle to collect the benefits you deserve.

Another issue that can make it more difficult to obtain workers’ comp benefits for a work-at-home injury is that there aren’t any witnesses. When you get injured in the office or at a job site, there will often be someone there who can confirm that you got injured on the job. At the very least, you can report your injury right away; and, if you weren’t injured when you got to work, your injury report will help confirm that you did in fact get injured during the workday.

Steps You Can (and Should) Take if You Got Injured While Working at Home

With these challenges in mind, there are some important steps you should take if you have suffered a job-related injury while working from home. As soon as possible, you should:

1. Document Where and When the Accident Happened

When seeking workers’ comp for a work-at-home injury, it is important to have thorough documentation. Take photos of the location where you got injured, the issue that caused your injury (i.e. a slippery floor or dangerous tool), and the injury itself. If you take these photos with your phone, they should be accurately time-stamped. If you were working on a computer or tablet, save your work—as this will also create a timestamp that can help prove you were injured within the scope of your employment.

2. Report Your Injury to Your Employer

With work-at-home injuries, it is especially important to report your injury to your employer right away. Unnecessary delays will open up more opportunities for your employer (or its insurance company) to argue that you can’t prove that your injury is job-related.

When you report your accident, provide as much information as possible, and do not embellish any details. Stick to the facts. Make sure you have a copy of your report before you submit it to your employer.

3. See a Doctor

You will want to see a doctor as soon as possible. In Wisconsin, you are not required to see a company-approved doctor, and you should not let your employer tell you where to go for treatment. Tell your doctor exactly what happened, describe your symptoms in detail, and let your doctor know that you will be filing for workers’ compensation.

4. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice

Depending on the nature and severity of your injury, you may be able to go back to work right away, or you may need to take time off. Even if you are working from home, if your doctor says you should rest, you should rest. If you ignore your doctor’s advice, not only could it take longer for you to recover, but it could also become much more difficult to secure full workers’ comp benefits.

5. Talk to a Madison Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Given the challenges involved in obtaining benefits for a work-at-home injury, it is best to seek help from a Madison workers’ comp lawyer promptly. You can get a free initial consultation, and it costs nothing out-of-pocket to hire a lawyer to handle your claim. Your lawyer can deal with your employer (and its insurance company) on your behalf, and your lawyer can help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your recovery.

Are You Still Eligible for Workers’ Comp if You Could Have Prevented Your Injury?

A common question we get from individuals who suffer job-related injuries at home is whether they are still eligible for benefits if they could have prevented their injuries. For example, what if you slipped on a wet floor because you had recently taken a shower? Or, what if you were using your own tools and they weren’t in great shape?

In Wisconsin, workers’ comp is a “no fault” system. This means that employees can file claims for benefits regardless of who is at fault for their injuries (with only a few very narrow exceptions). Just as you could have filed a claim if you accidentally injured yourself at the office or on a job site, in most cases you can file a claim if you got injured at home even if the accident was due to an issue within your control.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Madison Workers’ Comp Lawyer

If you were injured working at home in Wisconsin and need to file for workers’ comp benefits, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free consultation with a Madison workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible, call 608-257-0440 or request an appointment online now.

Injured on the Job in Wisconsin? Don’t Make These 10 Common Mistakes

Injured on the Job in Wisconsin? Don’t Make These 10 Common Mistakes

If you’ve been injured on the job in Wisconsin, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. But, even if you are clearly entitled to compensation, this doesn’t mean that it will be easy to collect the benefits you deserve. You need to take several steps to protect your rights, and there are also several costly mistakes you need to avoid.

Here are 10 common mistakes you need to avoid when filing for workers’ compensation benefits in Wisconsin:

1. Waiting Too Long to Report Your Injury

In Wisconsin, you only have 30 days to report a job-related injury. If you wait longer than 30 days, you could lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits.

However, while you have up to 30 days, you really shouldn’t wait any longer than necessary. Even if you report your injury within 30 days, waiting could make it more difficult to prove that you are entitled to benefits. Your employer may try to dispute that the accident happened, and your employer’s insurance company may try to argue that you can’t prove your injury is work-related.

2. Including Inaccurate Information on Your Injury Report

When reporting your injury to your employer, you need to be as accurate as possible. You do not want to say anything that isn’t true. Do not make any assumptions; if you don’t know something, state that you don’t know. Even if you inadvertently provide false or misleading information, this could create problems for your workers’ compensation claim.

3. Seeing a Company Doctor

Under Wisconsin law, you have the right to see a doctor of your choosing (this isn’t the case in all states). You should exercise this right—and you should not see a company doctor if one is available to you. If you needed emergency treatment and you saw a company doctor, that’s okay, but you will want to choose your own doctor going forward.

4. Failing to Follow Through with Your Medical Care

Once you receive a diagnosis and treatment recommendations, you need to follow through with your medical care. Ignoring medical advice is among the most common mistakes workers make after getting injured on the job. If you ignore your doctor’s advice, not only could this hinder your recovery, but it could lead to challenges with your workers’ compensation claim as well.

If you aren’t sure what your doctor has recommended, you should call the office to inquire. Make sure you get your prescriptions filled and make arrangements to be at all of your follow-up appointments on time.

5. Returning to Work Too Soon

As part of following your doctor’s advice, you need to make sure you do not return to work too soon. Even if you feel good enough to work, you still need to rest if this is what your doctor recommends. Broken bones, strains and tears, tendonitis, and other common types of work injuries can take several weeks or months to heal, and resuming work too soon could lead to setbacks with your recovery. If the insurance company says that you are responsible for these setbacks, your additional medical expenses might not be covered.

6. Letting the Insurance Company Calculate Your Benefits

Most employees who file for workers’ compensation on their own let the insurance company calculate their benefits. While the insurance company might calculate your benefits correctly, it also might not. To make sure you receive the full benefits to which you are legally entitled, you will want to double-check the insurance company’s calculation and raise any concerns you have.

This is especially important concerning disability benefits. Temporary and permanent disability benefits are calculated differently, and the amount you are entitled to receive depends on your individual circumstances. The insurance company might try to pay less than the full amount you are owed; and, if it does, you will need to know so that you can address the issue promptly.

7. Accepting a Denial of Benefits

Sometimes insurance companies will deny benefits outright. If you receive a denial of benefits, you should not let this be the last word on your claim. Instead, you should talk to a lawyer to find out if the denial was justified. If it weren’t (as is often the case), your lawyer would be able to deal with the insurance company for you and work to address any issues that may be responsible for your denial.

8. Failing to Prepare for Your Independent Medical Exam (IME)

After you file for workers’ compensation benefits, your employer’s insurance company may say that you need to attend an independent medical exam (IME). This is an exam conducted by a doctor who works with an insurance company. As such, it really isn’t “independent” at all.

Before attending an IME, you need to prepare. You need to know what to say, what not to say, and what to do once the exam is over. A lawyer can help you with this as well. 

9. Giving Up on Your Claim

Given all of the challenges involved in filing for workers’ compensation benefits, some workers simply give up. They get tired of dealing with the insurance company, and they decide that the hassle isn’t worth any benefits they may eventually be able to recover.

However, you should not give up on your claim under any circumstances. Job-related injuries can be incredibly costly, and you deserve to collect benefits if you qualify. Down the line, you will be happy that you put in the effort to file a successful claim.

10. Trying to Handle Your Situation on Your Own

If you need to file for workers’ compensation, you don’t have to handle your situation on your own. A lawyer can help you, and you can hire a lawyer at no out-of-pocket cost. Legal fees for workers’ compensation claims are capped at 20 percent of the amount in dispute, and an experienced lawyer may be able to help you recover far more than you could recover on your own.

Schedule a Free Workers’ Comp Consultation at Mays Law Office

Do you need to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits? If so, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Mays Law Office in confidence, call 608-257-0440 or tell us how we can reach you online now.

When Can Employers Deny Workers Compensation in Wisconsin?

When Can Employers Deny Workers Compensation in Wisconsin?

When you get hurt on the job and you file for workers compensation benefits, you expect to receive the benefits you are owed. While this happens for some workers, for others, collecting benefits can be a challenge. If your employer denies your claim, you need to know what to do next. This starts with understanding why your claim was denied.

Employers (and their insurance companies) deny workers compensation claims for a variety of different reasons. Some of these reasons are valid, and some of them are not. If your employer denied your claim for an invalid reason, then you should still be able to collect benefits. If your employer denied your claim for a valid reason, whether you can still collect benefits depends on whether you can fix the issue that caused your denial.

7 Reasons Employers Can Deny Workers Compensation Claims

Here are seven valid reasons why employers can deny their employees’ claims for workers compensation benefits. Some of these issues can be fixed (as long as you address them in time), and some of them cannot:

1. You Waited Too Long to Report Your Injury

Under Wisconsin law, you have 30 days to report your injury or illness to your employer. This 30-day period runs from the date you knew, or “ought to have known” of your condition. For injuries sustained in falls, collisions, and other accidents, this generally means that you must report your injury within 30 days of the accident. For repetitive stress injuries and occupational illnesses, determining when the 30-day reporting period expires can be more complicated.

2. You Waited Too Long to File Your Claim

The deadline to report your injury or illness isn’t the only deadline that applies to your workers compensation claim. If your employer does not pay the benefits you are owed after you report your injury or illness, you then have two years (in most cases) to file a claim with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). If you don’t file your claim within two years, this can justify your employer in denying your claim for benefits.

3. You Didn’t Provide Enough Information

An injury or illness only qualifies for workers compensation benefits if it occurs within the scope of your employment. In other words, you must have a job-related injury or illness in order to collect workers compensation benefits. If you didn’t provide enough information for your employer to determine whether your injury or illness qualifies, this could be the reason (or one of the reasons) why your employer denied your claim.

4. You Provided False or Misleading Information

Employers can deny claims for workers compensation benefits when employees provide false or misleading information regarding their injuries. This is true even if you provided false or misleading information unintentionally. Intentionally providing false or misleading information is considered workers compensation fraud, and it can provide justification for a permanent denial of benefits.

5. You Didn’t Seek Medical Treatment

When you suffer a job-related injury, seeking medical treatment isn’t just important for your health. It is also important for your workers compensation claim. If you haven’t seen a doctor, your employer isn’t going to pay benefits. If you waited too long to see a doctor, your employer might try to use this as a basis for denying your workers compensation claim as well.

6. Your Medical Records Don’t Indicate that Your Injury is Job-Related

When you see a doctor for treatment, it is important to tell your doctor that you suffered your injury or illness on the job. Your doctor should note this in your medical records. If your medical records don’t indicate that your injury is job-related, this could be why your employer denied your claim.

7. You are Not Eligible to Receive Benefits

Not all workers are eligible to receive workers compensation. If you are not eligible, then you are not entitled to benefits even if you got injured or sick on the job. If you are not eligible to receive workers compensation through your employer, you may have other options available.

3 Reasons Employers Can’t Deny Workers Compensation Benefits

As we mentioned above, in addition to denying workers compensation claims for valid reasons, employers will often deny claims for invalid reasons as well. Some examples of invalid reasons for denying workers compensation claims include: 

1. You Have a Pre-Existing Condition

In Wisconsin, employers generally cannot deny workers compensation benefits on the basis of a pre-existing condition. For example, if you had a bad knee and you reinjured your knee at work or your pain got worse from doing your job, you are entitled to benefits under Wisconsin law. 

2. You Caused Your Own Injury

Workers compensation is a “no fault” system. This means that you are entitled to collect benefits even if you caused your own injury.

3. Your Employer Wants To Avoid Paying

Finally, your employer cannot deny your claim simply because it wants to avoid paying. Unfortunately, this is all it takes for some companies to deny benefits. If your employer does not have a valid basis for denying your claim, then you should still be able to collect benefits with a lawyer’s help.

What To Do if Your Employer Denies Your Workers Compensation Claim

If your employer has denied your worker’s compensation claim, what should you do? At this point, you will want to speak with workers compensation attorney promptly. An experienced Wisconsin workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to determine why your claim was denied and what (if anything) you can do to collect benefits. If you have a valid claim, your lawyer can then fight to secure the benefits you deserve.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Wisconsin Workers Compensation Lawyer

Has your employer denied your claim for workers’ compensation benefits? If so, contact us promptly for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with a Wisconsin workers compensation lawyer at Mays Law Office in confidence, call 608-257-0440 or tell us how we can reach you online now.

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