Getting hurt at work can be a painful and confusing time. Well-meaning friends and co-workers (and less well-meaning employers) may give you advice on what you should or should not do.
The best place to go for legal advice, however, is to an experienced attorney. The workers’ compensation lawyers at Brown & Crouppen have come up with five common mistakes they want injured workers to avoid.
1. Failing to report your injury and request medical care from your employer right away.
The law requires employers to treat injured workers, but only if they have notice of the injury and only with the medical treatment the employer approves. That means that you, as the injured employee, have to get the ball rolling.
In Missouri, you have 30 days to notify your employer of an injury, or of the diagnosis of an injury if the injury happened over time.
In Illinois, you have 45 days to notify your employer, or 90 days to report radiation exposure.
Ideally, report your injury in writing using your employer’s forms. If your employer does not provide you with such a form, you can use this form for Missouri or this form for Illinois.
Missing these deadlines can be fatal to a potential workers’ compensation lawsuit, so don’t delay.
2. Failing to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Look, we get it. There’s a stigma about calling an attorney. You may be worried that contacting an attorney means you’re committed to filing a lawsuit against your boss.
It doesn’t. Getting a legal consultation with a lawyer is free and confidential. It does not obligate you to anything.
Even if you think your injury is minor and you’re positive that your employer will take care of you, calling a lawyer is the best way to protect yourself and your rights.
3. Not going to all of your medical visits.
This is not the time to “tough it out.” If you skip your appointments, the insurance company will use that against you to say you either weren’t hurt all that badly or they will call you “non-compliant” and stop treatment altogether.
4. Oversharing at your medical visits.
Limit the discussion at your medical appointments to your injury and only your injury. Don’t talk about anything else. What you say in those visits can be made a part of the medical record and used against you in any potential lawsuit.
5. Assuming you’ll automatically receive a settlement for your “pain and suffering.”
Pain and suffering isn’t recognized in workers’ compensation. Instead, the law looks at whether you have any permanent injuries that impact your ability to use all or part of your body. The insurance company is highly motivated to find that you have little to no permanent damage from your injuries. A) They are grading their own work and B) the more damage they admit to, the more money they will have to pay.
Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can mean the difference between getting little to nothing, and getting what your injury is worth.
Every workers’ compensation client at Brown & Crouppen gets a legal team with lawyers and paralegals who have years of experience in workers’ compensation. If you have been injured on the job, and you want a free, confidential consultation, call toll free at 1-800-536-4357, or submit your request using our online form.