Filing a Workers Compensation claim is a confusing and difficult process. In between all the paper work and doctors appointments, it is easy to make a mistake that could harm your Workers Compensation claim. In order to avoid this, we have compiled a list of common mistakes that many workers in North Carolina make when dealing with the Workers’ Compensation process.
Not reporting the accident
This is one of the most common and damaging mistakes to make involving a Workers Compensation claim. Without a valid record of your injury, your employer’s insurance company is likely going to deny your claim. Although you may be injured, without a valid paper trail, you may be hard pressed to obtain a positive result in your claim.
Not filing a Form 18
One of the requirements that the North Carolina Industrial Commission has imposed regarding Workers Compensation claims is that the worker fill out a Form 18. This document informs both the employer and the North Carolina Industrial Commission of your claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits. This form is located here.
Not giving an accurate report to medical professionals
It is important to fully describe your injury, the pain you are suffering, and any additional problems that may have arisen to your doctor. Not only will this help you obtain proper medical care, but will also produce valuable documentation that can be used as evidence for your Workers Compensation claim.
Not following a doctor’s orders
After seeing the doctor, the doctor will prescribe a treatment and therapy plan for your injury. It is important that you follow these directions to the letter. Showing a good faith effort in attempting to heal your injury can only be beneficial to your claim.
Not getting a second opinion
The first medical professional you will see is one that has been preselected by your employer. Since there may be a conflict of interest or the chance of a misdiagnosis, you should explore the option of a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
Being unsure when to return to work
In order to reduce the amount of benefits you receive, your employer’s insurer will push your employer to get you back to work as soon as possible. Although this helps their bottom line, it can be potentially dangerous if you are not fully healed from your injury. As such, it is important to consult with your doctor or attorney in order to determine when to return to work.
Settling for less due to a faulty disability rating
As part of the Workers’ Compensation process, a doctor will designate a certain rating to your injury. This injury will determine the benefits you receive and the work you are allowed to do. If this rating has been determined in error, you may lose out on monetary benefits and increase the chance of reinjuring yourself.
Settling without a job
If the injury you have suffered has caused you to not be able to perform your prior job, it is important not to settle your claim before lining up another job or receiving job replacement training. Without a job, you may not be able to provide for yourself or your family and be at a severe economic disadvantage.
Failing to hire an attorney
Hiring an attorney is an important part of the Workers Compensation process. Since the insurance company has handled thousands of prior Workers Compensation cases, they have a much greater amount of knowledge or experience than an injured worker. By hiring an attorney, you receive a knowledgeable advocate who will fight for your rights. If you or someone you know has been injured while at work, you should Contact Us for a free consultation.
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James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.