Have you been injured at work and need medical attention to recover? Are you unsure of how to go about seeking the workers’ compensation that you need? If so, then you need to learn all that you can about the workers’ comp timeline and process.
Doing so can help you make the right decision for your family. It includes filing at the right time, seeking medical attention at the right time, and hiring an attorney to strengthen your case.
See below for an in-depth guide highlighting the workers’ compensation process and what you can expect the timeline to look like as well.
What Is Workers' Compensation?
Unless you’ve had to use it before, you probably don’t have a firm understanding of what workers’ compensation truly means.
Workers’ comp is a type of insurance that your employer pays to protect their staff (you) in the event of work-related injury/illness.
It’s meant to cover any financial losses that can accrue from the injury. This includes things such as wages you miss out on from not being able to work, expensive medical bills, and so on.
Any time that there’s a work-related injury, the injured employee (you) can file a claim through your employer to seek workers’ compensation.
From that point on, you’ll be working with the workers’ comp insurance provider and try to settle upon an amount to cover your losses.
How Long Does The Workers' Comp Timeline Take?
The duration of a workers’ comp case depends on a variety of different factors. It’s a waiting game between yourself and the insurance company, both of whom are willing to sit until you receive the amount you’re entitled to.
A case can either settle in less than 6 months or go as long as 2 years. It depends on how much compensation you’re looking for, the evidence you have, how much the provider tries to lowball you with their offers, and so forth.
Remember, you’re going up against a professional insurance company. Somebody that’s been trained to handle settlements and wait it out as long as possible. Someone that wants to try and get you to settle for as little money as possible.
Needless to say, you’ll want to get experience on your side. Be sure to reach out to a personal injury law firm to get the legal advice you need. They’ll give you step by step instructions the whole way.
What Does the Workers' Compensation Process Look Like?
Now it’s time to look at the specific details of the workers’ compensation process. Every step is crucial, so be sure to follow them to the best of your abilities.
1. Seek Medical Care
Your health is priority number one. Before you go to your employer and file a claim, you need to make sure and tend to the injury (or injuries) that you’ve sustained.
Not only can waiting to get medical care hinder your long-term health, but it can also be a detriment to your case. The insurance company will claim that if your injury was as bad as you claim, you would’ve sought out medical attention for it sooner.
If you’re worried about how to pay for the medical expenses in the short term, there are ways around it. You can apply for pre-settlement funding to cover those costs while you wait it out for the compensation amount you’re entitled to.
2. File a Claim
Now that you’ve sought out care for your injury/illness, it’s time to start the initial process by going to your employer to file a claim.
Once you inform your employer of your interest in filing, they’ll provide you with the necessary paperwork you need to file under their workers’ comp provider.
It’s important to note that you only have 90 days to file a claim after the incident. Be sure to act quickly to avoid complications. The faster you can alert your employer to the injury and your interest in filing a claim, the better.
Granted, there are a few exceptions to the 90-day rule, such as if you were bed-ridden for that length of time and physically unable to report your injuries due to your health.
3. Hire an Attorney
This should be prefaced by saying that you don’t have to wait until receiving paperwork to hire a personal injury attorney for your case. However, you do want to hire a lawyer before you submit the claim.
Hiring an attorney for your workers’ comp case will give you several benefits. They’ll help you build more evidence for your case, advise you on what steps to take, and take over communications between your side and the insurance company.
Without an attorney, the insurance company will have the upper hand. Joining forces with a personal injury lawyer will show them you mean business. That you’re willing to wait as long as it takes.
4. Wait for Insurance Company's Approval/Denial
After you’ve filed your workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company will take a look at your case and decide whether to approve or deny it.
If they approve it, then you can either accept the compensation offer they give or continue to negotiate for a larger settlement. Expect for you and your attorney to do the latter. Providers rarely ever give out the necessary amount on the first offer.
Should the provider deny your claim, you can either request they take a second look at their decision or appeal it.
Make the Workers' Comp Timeline Work for Your Case
At the end of the workers’ comp timeline, there are three goals: to get you healthy, get you the money you need to cover your bills, and to get you back to work (safely).
If you’ve been hurt on the job find a workers comp lawyer that can help you navigate the workers comp process and help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today.