Suffering an injury at work means that you need to decide if you're going to file a worker's compensation claim. Once you've made the decision to file, there are several things that you will need to think about. Here are some of the things that you need to know about your worker's compensation claim and what it entails.
Make Sure You Are Prepared
When you file a worker's compensation claim, it will typically have to go to court for a final determination. Whether you're appearing in court or you're going to the settlement table, you need to make sure that you are fully prepared.
Take some time before your hearing or settlement meeting to ensure that you remember all of the details associated with your injury and what happened. Be fully prepared to answer questions about your employment history with the employer in question, including not only when you started there and what your work history was like, but also details about your salary history and your current reporting structure.
You will also need to be confident in your recollection of the accident itself, including what led up to it and what you did in the aftermath. Make sure you remember who was present at the time, who you filed your report with at work, and what medical treatments you have received along the way.
Take some notes and bring them with you so that you have important dates, numbers, and other data. However, don't try to create a full written statement for the judge or the settlement representative. You'll want everything that you say to be natural, unrehearsed, and concise.
Understand The Timeline
When it comes to worker's compensation claims that go to court, you're going to have to make sure you fully understand the timeline you're dealing with. It can take quite a bit of time before you receive a decision or start to see any payments.
Your initial hearing with the judge will be for him or her to determine if there is merit to your case. Then, you'll have to wait for an actual trial date. When the trial happens, that can take some time as well. From there, you will receive a decision. However, even if the courts find in your favor, that doesn't mean that you'll see any money right away. Your employer's insurance company may appeal the decision, and any payments will be put on hold until that appeal is heard.
Talk with a worker's compensation attorney as soon as possible after your injury to ensure that you have the legal representation you deserve as your claim is reviewed.