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.