Workers’ compensation is intended to serve as the safety net injured workers need when they suffer job-related injuries or illnesses that require medical treatment and /or prevent them from working and earning wages. Because they are a form of no-fault insurance, wage supplementation and medical benefits are also available regardless of who caused the injuries. While workers’ compensation is a vital source of help when the unexpected happens, there are never any guarantees that workers will receive the benefits they need – especially if they make various errors during the application process.
At Leonard Law Group, our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys have helped thousands of clients across the region after they suffered injuries and illnesses as a result of performing job-related duties. Because we know the difficulties of filing a successful workers’ comp claim, especially when victims and families are still reeling from the initial shock of their injuries, we understand how it can be easy for workers to make errors which prevent them from securing the benefits to which they are lawfully entitled to under their employer’s insurance. We also know that it can make a difficult situation even tougher.
While we are always available to help injured workers understand their rights, the workers’ compensation application and appeal process, and what we can do to guide them through the process, we still want to ensure all workers and families have the information they need to successfully file a claim free from the common errors that result in denials or delayed payment. Below are a few common mistakes you should avoid:
- Failing to immediately report an accident – While injured workers have rights to benefits under their employer’s workers’ comp insurance, those rights come with responsibilities and requirements. One of the most important responsibilities workers have is to immediately report their accidents, injuries, or discovery of a job-related illness to their employer. If you fail to report an injury and try to file a claim, or delay in reporting to your employer, the risks of a denial and delay significantly increase. Timely reporting is the first and most important step in your journey to secure needed benefits, and it should always be a priority – even if you initially feel your injuries or illness may not be serious, or that you can simply tough them out. They may turn out to be more serious than you anticipated.
- Getting medical treatment without reporting to your employer – Seeking medical attention to evaluate and diagnose an injury or illness is important, and in some cases may happen before you report job-related injuries to an employer. However, you should be careful of beginning treatment plans without first reporting to your employer, if it is a non-emergency. When you file a workers’ comp claim that gets approved, you may be required to visit an employer-approved health care professional for treatment.
- Paying for medical treatment with your insurance – It is common for workers who believe their injuries or illnesses are not severe enough to report to any employer to simply seek medical treatment on their own. This is especially true for cases where injuries or illnesses may not be apparent as being caused by job-related duties, such as repetitive stress injuries or pre-existing ailments which are made works by working conditions or duties. If you seek medical treatment on your own and pay for it with your health insurance, you need to be aware that medical expenses can quickly pile up. You may also discover that injuries are more severe than you initially thought, or that they require more serious treatment that can put you out of work. When you have tried to pay for these injuries on your own without reporting them to an employer, you may risk having your claim denied or delayed when you finally do make the decision to tell them.
- Filing a claim without a lawyer – Statistics show that one of the major reasons why claims are denied or delayed is because injured workers make errors resulting from their lack of familiarity with the workers’ compensation process. When workers don’t know the ins and outs of a workers’ compensation claim, they are more likely to make errors that can compromise their ability to secure needed benefits in a timely fashion, such as missing critical deadlines, failing to meet requirements, not providing the right information or documentation, and more. When you work with experienced attorneys like those at Leonard Law Group, you can benefit from working with lawyers who have handled thousands of Illinois workers’ compensation claims involving a range of accidents, injuries, and illnesses. That insight can be invaluable when you depend on medical benefits and wage replacement benefits to see you through difficult times.
Working with an attorney as soon as possible after you suffer an injury on the job or become aware that an illness may have been caused by you work history is one of the most effective means to navigate the workers’ compensation process. At Leonard Law Group, our award-winning lawyers are here to help from the very moment you reach out to us. From educating you about your rights and exploring potential third party liability to building the strong and effective claim you need, we fight for the benefits you deserve.
Discuss a potential workers’ compensation case in Chicago or any of the surrounding areas of Illinois by calling (312) 487-2513 for a FREE consultation.