Ten "Musts" for handling your Workers Compensation Claim
REPORT THE INCIDENT IMMEDIATELY.
There is a time limit within which a claim needs to be made in order to avoid additional hurdles in securing coverage for your claim. The time period? 90 days in the State of South Carolina. This is by state statutes so it varies state to state. If you do not report the incident within that time period, it is harder to secure coverage for your claim. By reporting your claim immediately after the incident, you are not only letting your employer that an incident occurred; but perhaps more importantly, you have the opportunity to share the specific details of your injury with your employer.
DO NOT DISCUSS YOUR CLAIM WITH ANYONE.
After you have reported your claim, do not discuss it with anyone other than your physicians. This means, do not discuss it any further with your employer, do not discuss it with your coemployees, do not discuss it with any nurse case managers that may be assigned and do not discuss it with the insurance adjuster. Most importantly, do not give a recorded statement to anyone, including anyone with human resources or with the insurance company.
STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA.
Very simple yet very important. Defense attorneys no longer need to hire and pay private investigators. They can just get on social media and see your posts. This can ruin a case. I ask all of my clients to please not get on any social media. It is critical. If you must get on it, you need to discuss this with your attorney so that your attorney can tell you what matters to avoid on social media.
DO NOT MISS YOUR DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS.
Again, this is simple. If you are genuinely hurt, you need to go to your appointments. Missing appointments implies that your injuries must not be that bad or you would go. Gaps in treatment are big problems and can be cause for denying you future benefits.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTORS.
Doctors are buzy. However, you are important. You need to make them stop and listen to you. I always tell my clients to carefully reference every single body part that is hurting them so that an accurate record is created by your doctor. If something is not mentioned in a report, it can become very difficult to seek treatment for that issue as it may not have been causally-connected to the accident by the medical report(s). Further, additional body parts may become an issue; e.g., due to overuse, months down the road. You must tell your doctor if you begin to notice that another body part is becoming affected.
BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN SIGNING SOMETHING.
If you don't know what it is, do not sign it! If you don't have an attorney, you can always call one of us and ask us what it is you are being asked to sign. I say this especially with respect to the insurance company.
WRITE THINGS DOWN.
I always tell my clients to keep a written record of what is going on as far as your injuries and how they affect you. You can then take this with you to your doctor appointments so that you don't forget to relay all information to your doctors about your injuries and how they are affecting you which is critical. Also, keep lists about what you can and cannot do due to your limitations. This should include daily living activities, hobbies, chores, etc. Depending upon your case, there may be other professionals that will need to know this information and by writing it down, you ensure that you will have not forgotten any information.
LISTEN TO YOUR DOCTORS.
Do not do anything outside the scope of any restrictions that a doctor gives you. This means at home and, if you are still working, at work. I tell my clients to always carry a copy of the restrictions on their person so that if they are asked to do something outside their limitations, they can show the written restriction. You do not want to further injure yourself.
MONITOR YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS.
I say this because it really is so important and so critical. If you take more or less than what is prescribed, the doctors will be able to see this when you are drug tested. The chances of being drug tested are high. If you have too much or not enough of the drug in your system, most doctors will not see you anymore. It is very, very difficult to find another doctor that will see you. This can be a real big problem. I always tell my clients to carefully monitor their prescriptions and make sure they are the only ones taking them and that they are taking the proper amount.
WHEN YOUR DOCTOR(S) RELEASE YOU, ASK THE APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS.
Depending upon the nature of your claim, you must ask various questions such as: Will I need additional medical treatment in the future? How much will my future medical care cost? Will i need ongoing prescriptions? Will I have permanent physical restrictions and limitations? The questions are endless and are critical when attempting to resolve your claim. You cannot properly resolve a claim without having many answers. Will you be able to work in the same positions for which you are educated and trained? You will not know how (which way) to settle your claim, until you have addressed all possible issues.