Workplace accidents that cause injuries are very common, and it’s crucial for employees to know what to do after suffering any type of injury at work in Missouri. The workers’ compensation system exists to provide relief and job security to injured workers, but employees need to understand their obligations for working with this system to prevent delays or denials of benefits. The first steps after a workplace injury are vital in this regard and speaking with an experienced Kansas City work injury lawyer can help ease the process.
Report the Injury
The first thing any injured employee should do is notify his or her employer about the injury as soon as possible. The employer will likely be aware of the incident if the injury is serious and requires emergency medical intervention. Less severe injuries can also lead to workers’ compensation claims, however. It’s up to the injured employee to notify his or her supervisor as soon as possible to get the workers’ compensation claim process started.
The workers’ compensation system allows for up to 60 days to report an injury, but it’s vital to remember that any delays on the claimant’s part will reflect on his or her case negatively. In some cases, a delay in reporting a supposedly serious injury can cast doubt on a claim, delay benefits, and possibly even lead to a claim denial.
If you file a claim for workers’ compensation, you will need to seek treatment from one of several approved physicians. Your employer will provide you with a list of local physicians who work with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If you require emergency medical attention, you may receive such care from any available doctor, but you must report to one of the approved doctors on the list after the emergency has stabilized. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will only cover treatment from one of the carrier’s approved providers.
The doctor you select will perform a medical evaluation to determine the extent of your injury, the possibility of permanent disability, and recovery time. It is essential to follow the doctor’s instructions for proper recovery. Failing to do so may not only interfere with your recovery but can also cast your claim in a negative light. The people reviewing your claim may not believe your injuries are as serious as claimed if you do not follow the doctor’s orders for recovery. In some cases, it’s worth it to pay for a second opinion from a doctor you know and trust. The cost of the additional treatment is typically offset by the difference in benefits payments later.
Know Your Legal Options
In most cases, filing for workers’ compensation is also an agreement that the claimant will not file a lawsuit against his or her employer for the injury. This stipulation must be carefully considered and can cause serious problems for some claimants. Employees can file workers’ compensation claims even if their own negligence leads to injuries, but they may find it difficult to secure adequate damages without filing a lawsuit against a negligent employer. Filing a lawsuit may also be the encouragement a negligent employer needs to prevent future injuries to other employees.
It’s wise to reach out to a qualified Kansas City personal injury lawyer experienced in workers’ compensation claims after any workplace incident in Missouri. Report the injury as soon as possible, seek an appropriate physician for medical care, and then contact an attorney. He or she can help you navigate the workers’ compensation claims process, handle a delayed or denied claim, or explore other avenues of compensation. If something leads to a later denial or delay of your workers’ compensation benefits, your attorney can help handle these issues as well. The appeals process for denied workers’ compensation benefits is notoriously complex, and having a trusted lawyer help you can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of an appeal.