Four more steps to a successful workers' comp recovery
In our last post, we talked about the importance of protecting your own interests after being injured on the job -- you can go back to read our first five tips. The most important thing to remember is you have to take control of your claim if you want the best chance of making a full and fair recovery.
Let's say you've reported your injury, seen the proper doctor and educated yourself about your employer's policies. Great, but there's still more to be done:
- Don't take your employer's word for gospel - If your boss tells you that your injury isn't covered by workers' compensation because it was your own fault, he or she may be mistaken - or just lying. Workers' compensation is a no-fault insurance, which means that you are covered even if you caused the accident. If you're having a hard time collecting benefits, talk to an attorney.
- Manage your expectations - Even if you have a perfect claim with a clear connection to your work and a strong record of medical care, don't expect a huge payout from workers' compensation. In 2015, the New York Workers' Compensation Board changed the maximum weekly wage benefit to $844 - which may not come close to your normal wages. (Learn more about your options when workers' compensation isn't enough.)
- You may not need a lawyer... If your employer and its insurer do the right thing, you may be able to collect what you're owed without paying a portion of your benefits to an attorney. You may choose to handle your claim on your way unless you run into any obstacles.
- ...but it's always best to make sure - However, unrepresented workers may be shortchanged by insurance companies. Many insurers will begin taking your claim more seriously when they find out you have a lawyer. Any legitimate workers' comp attorney will provide a free initial consultation to help you determine whether full representation is appropriate.