After getting injured on the job, you lose your wages in the process. Because of this, you deserve to receive some form of compensation, and it’s best to hire the services of a skilled lawyer in such situations. This is crucial as a worker’s compensation case entails many intricacies, so anything can easily go wrong without proper legal representation.
Whereas you will have a proficient attorney during the worker’s compensation claim, it’s still advisable to know what to expect during this process. Here is a detailed guide on everything that happens during the worker compensation case.
1. Get Independent Medical Attention
After getting an injury while at the workplace, you should immediately rush to receive medical attention. This is important because medical attention is mandatory during a worker’s compensation case. If you have an insurance cover provided by your employer, go to the recognized medical center. While you are receiving treatment, inform the doctor that the sustained disease or injury happened while at work.
However, you can also see an independent doctor if you feel the one recommended by the insurance company is biased. This doctor will then examine you after answering several questions about your medical background and the symptoms of your injury. The medical report written is an essential item that will be on official record and proof of why you should need to get compensated for your injuries.
2. Notify Your Employer About Your Injury
After receiving medical attention, you should inform your employer through your supervisor about the injury sustained. You should explain to your supervisor how the injury happened while in the workplace and make sure an official accident report has been opened. Reporting about these work-related injuries such as occupational infections, acute injuries, and cumulative-trauma injuries should ideally be done within 30 days. The sooner you do this, the better it will be in your worker’s compensation case.
You should also include additional details about the injury:
- How the accident happened?
- The medical treatment you received.
- Other persons involved in the accident.
- The time, date and location of sustaining the injury.
When the court hearings start, both the insurance company and you will be required to provide the court with the documents to be reviewed. These includes
- Proof of lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Unpaid medical bill
- Deposition and expert witnesses’ reports
Nonetheless, you should follow your state’s rule on what is acceptable to give a judge during the hearing. Failure to do this may lead to your documents being dismissed as appropriate evidence.
You will then be required to take an oath by the judge and asked several questions by your worker’s compensation attorney. In your testimony, you should state several things, and this includes:
- Your education, training and usual responsibilities at work.
- How the injury occurred?
- The symptoms of your injury and the subsequent limitations.
- If you have tried going back to work?
Consequently, your employer’s lawyer will also ask you a couple of questions to cross-examine your statements.
Regardless of who asks the questions, always give factual information and if anything is unclear, answer by “I don’t remember.” This is vital because the judge will be searching for accurate information and gauging your credibility. If you show any signs of dishonesty or rudeness, the ruling will not go into your favor.
During your testimony, you should try and avoid inadmissible statements. If you don’t, the insurance company lawyer might object to this, leaving it to the judge to decide whether the information is acceptable. Gossip you heard from other people is also inadmissible in court.
4. Testimony by Other Witnesses
Other witnesses, including an insurance adjuster who declined your claim, coworkers, and specialists can also give their statements. These witnesses can either be brought by the insurance company or by yourself to aid in getting a favorable ruling. The experts who share their testimonies include vocation specialists who assess your ability to get another job. Doctors can also share their testimonies, but this usually happens earlier during the deposition.
5. The Judge Makes A Ruling
After the hearing is over, the judge is allowed a period of 30 to 90 days to decide. This will be done after evaluating all the evidence presented in court as well as the testimonies. Both the defendant and the plaintiff, that is the insurance company and you can submit a written brief highlighting a precise argument to aid in getting a favorable ruling. Once the judge is done reviewing everything, a decision is mailed to you, the insurance company, and your worker’s compensation attorney.
Should the judge’s decision go against you, feel free to file an appeal. However, this process differs from one state to another.
The worker’s compensation case is a hectic process, but you need to follow up to get your deserved compensation. By reading this article, you are now enlightened on what to expect after sustaining an injury while in the workplace.