Workers Compensation: Have Your Rights Been Violated?
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Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be an anxiety-inducing process even though workers compensation is designed to protect the employee. There are several ways that your rights might be violated throughout the course of a claim, and knowing what you are entitled to can help you get the legal representation and assistance you need when you need it most.
Employer Reactions to Claim Filing
Employers are prohibited from taking action against you or discriminating against you as a result of a workers compensation claim. Even if you only mention that you are considering filing a claim, your employer cannot treat you differently. They are required to provide you with the forms to file the claim and start the official process. If your employer is threatening you or otherwise treating you differently before or after you file a workers compensation claim, you may have further grounds in your case. If you’re unfamiliar with the workers compensation claim process, it can feel overwhelming and stressful to report the claim to your employer. Educate yourself before filing the claim so that you know what to expect.
What to Expect: The Doctor Visit
Your employer and their insurance company will set up a consultation with a physician of their choosing. It is critical that you accurately articulate the severity of your injuries during this visit. If you feel that the physician is not giving you adequate time, is not diagnosing you properly, or is not taking your injury seriously, you need to speak with an attorney immediately.
The job of the physician is first to fully evaluate you and determine the strength of your claim. The majority of the time, the approval or denial of your workers compensation claim will rest heavily on the evaluation from this physician. Before the meeting, make a list of questions you have for the doctor, as well as a detailed description of any symptoms you may be feeling. Be sure to explain the accident and nature of the injury in full detail to the doctor. Reviewing this list will help you feel more comfortable before the appointment and make sure that you have all of your bases covered. After you leave the meeting, make written notes of what occurred and what the doctor said. You want to have your own copy of these details in the event that they become helpful down the road.
What to Do: Claim Denial
In the event that your claim is denied or that your employer expects you to return to work more quickly than you had planned, you need to discuss the next steps in your case with your attorney. It is possible that you will return to work unable to do the job or be placed in a position that the employer may later eliminate, terminating your workers compensation benefits. Continue to document any negative interactions with your employer that may qualify as discrimination. At each stage of the workers compensation process, the best thing you can do for yourself is to work with an experienced attorney. A workers compensation attorney can walk you through the steps of each possible scenario and fight for the benefits you deserve.