If you have had the misfortune to be injured at work, you will likely be able to use your employer's insurance benefits. Among these benefits is the ability to have all of your medical expenses paid in full and to have some of your salary paid while you stay home from work. To get this valuable coverage, however, you will need to follow procedures and to make your accident or illness details known to the right people and to do it accurately. Read on to learn more about reporting your work-related medical condition.
Expect Wide Coverage: Workers' comp covers many different types of work-related issues, and you may be surprised at how far-reaching the coverage can be. For example:
- Most workers expect coverage for work-related accidents, such as an industrial accident involving heavy machinery or on-the-job injuries, but you don't necessarily have to be on your employer's property to get covered. If you are traveling in a company provided work vehicle, you will be covered for any accident or issue, no matter where it might occur. If you travel for business or to to an off-site conference or training, you are also covered.
- Not all medical issues happen suddenly, some grow over time. If a muscle or other body part is slowly damaged over time, it may take some time for you to become aware of it. Just because your injury was gradual doesn't mean that is it not covered by workers' comp. One well-know example of this type of injury is carpal tunnel syndrome.
- The damage does not have to be visible to others for it to be covered. Mental and emotional problems caused (or aggravated) by work are all covered by workers' comp. For instance, if you suffered emotional damage due to a catastrophic event at work and now suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), you may qualify for benefits.
Taking Quick Action: No matter how your injury occurred, seek medical treatment as soon as possible and let your doctor know that your injury or illness is work-related. If you fail to get treatment or to follow the doctor's treatment plan, you may find yourself denied workers' comp coverage. If you have to use your own funds or your own health insurance to pay for the care, you or your carrier will be reimbursed by workers' comp.
Inform Your Supervisor: The reporting requirements vary, but you usually need to let your direct supervisor know about your illness or injury as soon as possible. You can inform them by phone, letter, email or in person, but do so quickly since the accident report must be filed with the insurance carrier to get your benefits started. Be sure not to sign any forms without reading them carefully, since errors and missing information could cause your claim to be denied.
If you have reason to suspect that your claim is not being taken seriously, talk to a workers' compensation lawyer right way.