After a work injury, your employer may not tell you everything you need to know.
After being injured at work, it is imperative that you take control of your case and protect yourself. While your employer and its workers' comp insurer may appear sympathetic, remember that they have a vested interest in protecting their own bottom line.
Knowing a few key things can help you get proper medical care, protect your legal rights and make a full financial recovery. How can you pursue the benefits you need? Read on.
- Report the injury or risk having your claim denied. One of the biggest mistakes that injured workers make is neglecting to tell a supervisor or HR representative about their workplace injury or illness. You don't have to do it right away - in New York, you have 30 days to report your injury in writing - but it is wise to report your injury if your doctor says it is work-related.
- See the right doctor - If your injury is an emergency, getting first aid or treatment should be your first priority. In all non-emergency situations, however, the doctor you see must be authorized by the New York Workers' Compensation Board. Ask your employer for a list of approved doctors, if they have one.
- Be thorough with treatment - Tell your doctor every part of your body that was affected by the injury and be detailed when discussing what happened. If your medical records are incomplete, the insurer may use it as an excuse to underpay or deny your claim.
- Let your doctor know you were injured at work - Make sure you tell the doctor that your injury happened at work and check any boxes to that effect on their paperwork. This helps the doctor provide appropriate care and tells them to bill your employer's workers' compensation insurer or employer, not you personally.
- Do your homework - Ask your supervisor or HR rep for information about your employer's workers' compensation coverage. They may not offer this information proactively, but you have a right to know what you are entitled to under the law. If you have any questions, most workers' compensation attorneys offer free consultations to answer your questions and help you protect your rights.
In our next post, we'll talk about additional things you should know about workers' compensation in New York. Stay tuned - and please feel free to reach out to us if you have questions about your workers' comp claim.