Being injured at work is never an easy experience. In addition to the injury itself, you’re often left with more questions than answers. Will workers’ compensation cover the cost of my medical treatment? Have I done the right things in the right order to qualify for coverage? Should I delay treatment until I know exactly what’s going on?
The answers to many of these questions can be found in the following list of common mistakes made by people injured on the job.
1. Waiting until after an injury to learn about your employer’s policies
It won’t take long to familiarize yourself with your employer’s workers’ compensation policies, and it will pay off in case of injury. Most companies have information you can take with you. It’s even better to request a meeting with someone in Human Resources and discuss exactly what procedures to follow in case of injury. That way, if the unfortunate does happen, you can focus on what matters—getting treatment!
2. Ignoring an injury, or thinking that only sudden injuries will qualify
It’s hard to believe, but many work-related injuries go unreported. Why? Mostly because the injured worker is afraid of missing work, angering the employer or being stuck with medical bills. But if they understood their workers’ compensation rights, they might get the medical attention they need.
People often fail to report injuries that build up over time, such as repetitive stress injuries to the hand or wrist. It’s a mistake to assume that all valid workers’ compensation cases result from sudden or severe injuries. Sometimes mild injuries can gradually form; but that doesn’t make them any less valid or worthy of treatment.
3. Failing to follow through on treatments
Work-related injuries may linger on if you don’t follow the treatment plan set forth by your doctor. It’s important to make every appointment, even if it’s just a check-up, and save all documentation related to your treatment. If the injury returns or is aggravated, you’ll be able to prove that you took the doctor’s advice. However, if the insurance company who is handling your claim finds out that you skipped appointment or did not follow the treatment plan, your right to further benefits may be jeopardized.
4. Not reporting the injury to your employer, or assuming the hospital will do it
When you’ve been hurt, seeking medical treatment is the first priority. You can’t be denied workers’ compensation in NJ simply because you went to urgent care immediately. You can be denied because you didn’t report the injury to your employer!
Many people assume that by telling the clinic or doctor that an injury or illness is work-related, the employer will be notified and worker’s compensation will kick in. This is entirely untrue! As the injured employee, it’s entirely your responsibility to report injuries or illnesses directly to your employer. Doing so in writing is the best way to cover your bases. It leaves a definite record of your notification and creates a solid basis for your right to benefits.
Most Worker’s Compensation cases in New Jersey (or whichever State you happen to reside in) will be relatively easy to manage, so long as you maintain clear channels of communication with both your employer and your doctor. Keep in mind, laws vary from State-to-State.
Questions or comments? Please leave them below!