Are you feeling guilty or uncertain about filing a workers’ compensation (WC) claim through your employer? If so, you’re not alone. Plenty of people who should file a claim end up not filing out of fear.
Fear arises for all sorts of reasons. People working in horrible conditions fear employer retaliation, while others fear being judged and/or fired because they may have contributed to their own injuries.
All of these fears are perfectly valid. However, if you allow your fear to hold you back from filing a claim, you’re only going to hurt yourself and your family. Workers’ compensation insurance was literally created for employees just like you who are injured on the job and need money to pay their bills.
Don’t let your claim get denied over a small mistake
If you have an open workers’ compensation case, you’re doing the right thing. However, there are small things that can affect the outcome of your case and tip it out of your favor. For a list of 7 things you should never do during a workers’ compensation case in Mississippi, visit this website.
Some things you need to do are common sense – like not missing any doctor or therapy appointments – but others aren’t so obvious.
For instance, unless instructed by your attorney, don’t let a nurse case manager attend your medical appointments with you. The insurance company will hire a nurse case manager to monitor your care and their objective is to save the insurance company money.
You don’t want them to go to your appointments because they routinely influence a doctor’s decisions. For example, they can convince your doctor to release you back to work early, even if that wasn’t their original intention. They can also tell the insurance company to deny coverage for your treatment because in their medical opinion it’s not necessary.
You have a legal right to have your doctor examine you in private. If a nurse case manager shows up, you can and should request privacy.
You’ll also want to avoid applying for other benefits like Social Security Disability, Family Medical Leave, Medicaid, Medicare, or Short-Term Disability. The worst thing you can do during an open case is quit your job. Hang on; it’s okay if you can’t go to work. Don’t create a reason for your claim to be denied.
You will need every penny of compensation you can get
If you’ve been injured on the job, you’re going to have mounting bills for medical care as well as your personal bills like rent, electricity, and groceries.
If you’re lucky enough not to have many medical bills, you might be wondering if you should pursue your claim. Consider that a WC claim isn’t only for medical bills. If all you did was break your small toe and get sent home in a boot, if you can’t work, how will you pay the rent?
A WC claim will provide you with compensation you can use to pay all of your bills – medical and personal. However, to have a successful case, you need to make sure you follow all of the rules, including filing your claim within the proper time period. One mistake can cause your claim to be denied.
Workers’ compensation insurance was created for all injured employees
If you’re worried about collecting workers’ compensation for an injury that might be your fault, it’s okay. Workers’ compensation is specifically designed to compensate injured employees no matter who is at fault. It doesn’t matter if you’re 100% at fault or just partially at fault. You are entitled to collect monetary benefits.
Your boss is required to have and provide workers’ compensation insurance
Perhaps the best reason not to worry about filing a claim is that your employer is required by law to carry this insurance policy. In most cases it’s not optional, and if your employer doesn’t want to play by the rules and tries to prevent you from filing a claim, you can file a lawsuit.
Retaliation for filing a claim is illegal
While it’s true that some employers do retaliate and you might get fired, if that happens to you, consider it an opportunity to find a better working environment. It will probably feel uncomfortable, but it will be worth the effort to find a job where your employer takes care of their team.
Retaliation is illegal, however, if the accident was your fault, it’s possible that you could get fired legally for violating company safety policy. If you get fired after filing a WC claim and you can prove the accident was not your fault, you might have a case. In that situation, contact an attorney right away.
Workers’ comp helps businesses avoid lawsuits
Business owners have every reason to help their employees recover compensation because it prevents the employee from filing a lawsuit. In fact, the original Workers’ Accident Insurance program of 1884 was specifically established to protect employers from civil lawsuits by providing monetary benefits to injured employees. Employers would be foolish to intervene in an employee’s workers’ compensation claim because lawsuits are much more expensive, time consuming, and exhausting.
Once a WC claim is filed, the employee loses the right to sue their employer for their injuries. In most cases, workers are actually required to pursue a WC claim instead of filing a lawsuit.
It’s critical to discuss your case with an attorney before choosing to file a claim. While filing a claim will be the best route for most employees, the only way to know is by consulting with legal counsel.
Don’t take on the financial burden for your injuries
Whatever you do, don’t absorb the financial loss for injuries sustained on the job. You don’t have to be clear of all faults to deserve compensation. Your employer is responsible for the safety and well-being of all employees regardless of fault.
Emotional and Mental Well-being
Emotional and mental well-being, including in the context of workers’ compensation, refers to a state of optimal psychological health and resilience. It encompasses a person’s ability to effectively cope with the stress and challenges that may arise from workplace injuries or accidents. Prioritizing emotional and mental well-being becomes even more crucial for individuals navigating the workers’ compensation process. It involves recognizing and addressing the emotions associated with the injury, managing the stress of the claims process, seeking support when needed, and engaging in self-care practices to aid in recovery. By nurturing emotional and mental well-being during the workers’ compensation journey, individuals can enhance their overall quality of life, improve their relationships, and better navigate the challenges they face, both in their recovery and in their professional lives.
Remember that employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to compensate all injured employees regardless of fault. Don’t take on more debt and financial burdens out of fear. Pursue your claim and recover the money you deserve.