Tips If You’ve Been Hurt at Work.December 7th, 2011 by 1800thelaw2
Recently, I posted a series of tips that can help you if you’ve been in an auto accident.
In this post, I’m providing a list of what to do and not to do if you’ve had an injury on the job and/or in the workplace.
Hire an Attorney: The workers’ compensation system can be very confusing and very frustrating. Hiring an expert attorney experienced in dealing with the workers’ compensation system, appeals and complaints process, and the claims administrators helps ensure your legal rights are being fully protected. Plus, it gives you undisturbed time to do what you need to do most…heal.
In California, temporary total disability payments can be up to $986 per week. An expert attorney can help you get the maximum benefit allowable by law. You can learn more about benefits at www.dir.ca.gov .
Your attorney can be responsible for dealing with your employer’s insurance company, help arrange medical evaluations, and represent you at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) if necessary.
File Your Workers’ Compensation Claims Quickly: If you’re hurt on the job you have legal rights. But if you don’t notify your employer and file the appropriate paperwork as soon as possible (within 30 days of your injury or becoming aware that your injury was caused by work), you may lose your right to file a claim and receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Don’t Tough Out an Injury: As well as you know your body, you may not be able to determine if your injury is minor or serious. After a work-related injury, see a doctor and inform your employer of the injury as soon as possible. Not treating an injury in a timely manor can result in a worsening of the condition ultimately costing you more time away from work and even greater medical bills. And delaying notifying your employer and/or not seeking medical treatment could mean you exceed the time limit for filing a claim and leave you with no legal recourse.
Predesignate Your Doctor Today: If you haven’t already notified your employer in writing of the name and address of your personal physician, before you’re injured at work, you may not be able to see your personal physician right after a work injury. Not all workers can predesignate their physician. See your human resources director for more information.
Learn These Important Terms: The more you know about the workers’ compensation system the better your chances of success. Here are a few terms you’ll often hear.
- DWC: Department of Workers’ Compensation
- DWC 1: The Workers’ Compensation Claim Form & Notice of Potential Eligibility. Your employer must give or mail you a claim form within one working day after they learn about your injury or illness. You must fill out the DWC 1 form as soon as possible after a work injury and give it to your employer.
- UR: Once you’ve seen a doctor and a treatment plan has been formulated it may be reviewed by a third party hired by the claims administrator. This process is called utilization review (UR). Insurance companies use UR to decide whether or not to approve treatment recommended by the doctor.
- MPN: A medical provider network (MPN) is a group of health care providers set up by your employer’s insurance company and approved by the DWC’s administrative director to treat workers injured on the job. Each MPN includes a mix of doctors specializing in work-related injuries and doctors with expertise in general areas of medicine. If your employer is in an MPN your workers’ compensation medical needs will be taken care of by doctors in the network unless you were eligible to pre-designate your personal doctor and did so before your injury happened.
One last thing I hope you’ll always remember. If you’re hurt on the job, you have a legal right to file a claim and seek medical attention. Just be aware that filing a false claim is a felony!
If you’re reading this while you’re home recovering from a work injury, I hope you feel better and are back on the job soon.
Robert M. Cohen
Attorney at Law
Attorney Member, Walker & Walker Attorney Network at 1-800-THE-LAW2
PS: Don’t forget, according to California law, making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.
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