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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Workers’ Compensation

July 23, 2018

How to file a workers’ compensation claim correctly is a common question many ask when they speak to our lawyers. It’s true that making a mistake when filing a claim can result in delayed or denied benefits, but don’t panic over this crucial step in the workers’ comp claim process. At Prior, Criner & Edwards Attorneys, one of our main duties is to ensure you file correctly and avoid any oversights. Here are five common mistakes to avoid when filing a claim.

1. Failing to Report an Injury/Claim

Employees cannot begin to collect workers’ compensation benefits until they’ve reported their accident to their employer. Workers have 30 days after the accident occurs to do this, and while this might seem like a sufficient timeframe, it’s better to do it immediately to avoid any issues. If a severe injury has occurred and an employee is prevented from reporting the accident, a co-worker or family member may report it on his or her behalf.

2. Not Seeking Medical Treatment

Receiving immediate medical attention is important for an injured worker’s health and recovery. Not seeking treatment right away can prevent an employee from obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. Even if an injury isn’t physically obvious or very serious, you could be eligible for benefits. Find out if your employer has an on-site healthcare provider or if you should be directed to a designated office. If neither of those options exist, seek medical treatment from your family doctor or the closest emergency room.

3. Failing to Provide Complete and Accurate Information

When filing an injury claim, it’s important to be thorough about the location, date and time of an accident, and to provide a detailed description of the injury. This is also true when you’re speaking to a healthcare provider. Insurance companies carefully investigate every detail of a claim and medical records to ensure the right actions were taken.

4. Not Filing a Form 18

Form 18 is an official notification to an employer that an employee was injured during an accident at work. It provides personal information about an individual, including details about the injury. The form is then sent to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which oversees workers’ compensation in the state. Form 18 must be submitted within two years of the date of the injury, or injured workers are at risk for not recovering benefits.

5. Believing a Pre-Existing Condition Makes You Ineligible

In most cases, workers’ compensation benefits are only for injuries related to activities conducted on the job. But when an employee is already suffering from a pre-existing condition that has worsened while on the job, workers’ comp benefits may still be owed. When hired, employers must accept their employees as they are and make no distinction between workers who are physically capable versus those with some weaknesses that might make them more susceptible to long-term injuries from normal duties or a workplace accident.

If you’ve been injured at work, we highly recommend consulting with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers first before settling a claim to ensure you’re getting what you deserve. By working through the claim process together, we can help you avoid any mistakes and achieve satisfactory results.