Will workers’ compensation cover me for work-related illness or injuries that aren’t the result of an accident?
As a worker, you want to know that you’ll be provided for if you ever get hurt on the job. You may have developed an illness while working or have gotten hurt due to your daily activities, and that’s something that workers’ compensation should cover.
Making a workers’ compensation claim is the first step in seeking the compensation that you need. Here is what you should know about claiming for injuries or illnesses that aren’t linked to an accident at work.
Injuries and Illnesses Aren’t Always a Result of a Serious Accident
Accidents are a common cause of workplace injuries, but they’re not the only cause. There are other reasons why workers may have injuries after being on the job. For example, stress can lead to stress-related injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression. Repetitive movements can lead to repetitive-strain injuries. Even poor ergonomics may lead to wounds that take time to heal and require a period of rest.
When you can’t continue to work and need medical care for an illness or injury that you suspect is from your job, it’s important to talk to your employer. They should discuss with you how you should go about getting medical care and help report the injury to the workers’ compensation insurance provider.
When Can You Get Compensation for a Work-Related Illness or Injury?
You can get compensated for a work-related illness or injury if you work for an employer and are technically employed, not an independent contractor.
The majority of employers in the United States are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance should cover your injury or illness if:
- The injury, illness or disability is connected to your job and happened while you were working or performing duties related to your job
- You gave your employer notice of the injury or illness immediately after it occurred or within 30 days of the injury or illness
- You have a medical report from a physician that says that the disability, injury, or illness is linked to your job or the condition of the workplace
You Need to Seek Medical Treatment
To get workers’ compensation, you will need to seek medical treatment and then follow the treatment protocol that the doctor provides you with to help you recover. For example, if you break your arm and are asked to attend physical therapy, you should do that if you would like to get workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation will cover your medical care, a portion of your lost wages and even help with vocational rehabilitation if you cannot return to your former job. However, you do need to do your part and to go to the doctor, get the right tests and abide by the treatment protocol.
What Should You Do When Filling Out Your Workers’ Compensation Forms?
When filling out your workers’ compensation forms, you should first let your employer know that you were injured. Then, when you see your doctor, tell the doctor that you believe that this injury is linked to your work. They will have forms that they can fill out to help with your workers’ compensation claim specifically.
After this, you may want to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney. Go over what happened or why you believe the injury is linked to your job. If you have paperwork to fill out, your attorney can help you with it and make sure it is accurate. Then, that paperwork can be submitted to the workers’ compensation insurance company.
What Should You Do If Your Claim Is Denied?
Especially in the case of illnesses, it is possible that it could be difficult to link your illness or injury to your job. In that case, the workers’ compensation insurance company may deny your claim.
If the claim is denied, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to appeal that decision. In fact, it’s a good idea to appeal the decision, because you may find that your employer lied to the insurer or misrepresented what happened to the insurer. Why would an employer do that? If they were negligent or if the claim goes through, then they could face fines and see an increase in the cost of the policy.
When a claim is denied, you have the opportunity to appeal. You should take the denial letter to your attorney to go over the reasoning. Sometimes, simply getting another medical opinion or providing the insurance company with more information about your injury or illness is enough to get the claim to go through.
Get Help for Your Claim
Time is of the essence in a workers’ compensation claim, so don’t delay reporting that you’ve been injured or have suffered an illness related to your job. You deserve all the support that this coverage is there to provide.
Do you need the help of a workers’ comp attorney? We are here to help and are looking forward to speaking with you. We want to help you protect your rights and get the benefits that you deserve.