My Love Of The Law

3 Things Most Employees Do Not Know About Worker's Compensation

by Alan Medina

When you trip over a pallet and break a leg, inhale fumes and experience lung trauma at work, or accidentally cut yourself on a saw at a cabinet shop, it is the responsibility of your employer's worker's compensation insurance to step up and take care of you and your injuries. Unfortunately, filing a worker's comp claim and receiving the much-needed benefits is hardly ever as cut and dry as it should be. There are actually three important things that most employees do not know about worker's compensation that could interfere with them receiving benefits. 

What medical provider you visit could impact your claim.

If you are injured suddenly and must be picked up and transported by emergency personnel, you will not have a choice about where you go for treatment. However, in any other situation, if your employer tells you to visit a specific hospital, doctor, or other medical provider, you should follow their directions. It is true that worker's compensation insurance may only work with specific medical providers. Therefore, if you visit someone else that is not within the network, your injuries may not be covered by the insurance company. 

You should be careful about what you say to the medical provider during treatment.

From the moment you step into the office of a medical practitioner and your visit is associated with a workplace injury, you should watch carefully every word that you let out of your mouth. Keep in mind that the medical provider is required by law to document your claims in your medical file, which will then be turned over to the insurance company and your employer. The slightest mention of a previous injury could mean that your claim will not be covered. 

You could be entitled to coverage even if an accident was your fault. 

Say for example you are using a ladder in a way that could hurt your back and get hurt. Your employer may tell you when you try to file a claim that there is nothing worker's compensation can do because you did not follow safety precautions. However, even when an accident at work is technically your fault, you may still be covered in some states. Of course, there are limitations to this rule, such as if you were skating along on a pallet jack and got hurt. Even if an accident is your fault talk to a workers compensation attorney for advice.