Work injuries can turn your world upside down, especially if you're the sole breadwinner. Suddenly you're out of work, without a paycheck, and unable to provide for your family. Worker's compensation is designed to provide for your medical and financial needs while you're unable to work. However, even minor mistakes can interfere with your worker's compensation case and undermine your ability to receive the benefits you're entitled to. If you've been injured on the job, don't take chances with your worker's compensation claim. Here are four mistakes that can cause problems for you later.
Doing Things You Shouldn't
You might not realize this, but while you're out on work-related injuries, you may be watched by your employer's insurance company. That means that everything you do could be used against you during the processing of your worker's compensation claim – even if you think the activity is harmless. If your doctor has given you specific instructions for your recovery, be sure to abide by every detail of those orders. For instance, if your orders preclude you from lifting, avoid bringing groceries in from the car. If your orders preclude you from strenuous activities, avoid roughhousing with your kids while you're out of work. Don't take chances that your actions could be recorded and used against you.
Returning to Work Too Soon
You may feel ready to return to work, but if your doctor hasn't released you, don't go. Returning to work before you're physically ready could lead to further exacerbation of your injuries. Stay home until your doctor gives you a clean bill of health. It's also important to note that if you've been released for work, but you still don't feel up to it, you should discuss options with your doctor.
Not Keeping a Journal
If you've suffered a work-related injury, you'll need to remember as many details as possible. Unfortunately, with so many things going on – doctor's appointments, pain management, etc. – it can be difficult to keep track of everything. That's where journal-keeping comes in. If you're not keeping an injury journal, you could miss vital details that will be crucial to your worker's compensation claim. To ensure you get the benefits you're entitled to, be sure to keep a journal. Some of the details you should document in your journal include:
- Daily pain levels
- How your injuries interfere with your daily activities
- Notes from your doctor's appointments
Proceeding Without Legal Representation
As soon as you've been injured on the job, you need to hire an attorney – even if you think your injuries are minor. Hiring an attorney will ensure that you don't have to go it alone when dealing with the insurance company. Don't take chances with your future. Talk to a worker's compensation attorney near you, such as Bishop Dorfman Kroupa & Bishop PC, as soon as possible.