As soon as you are able, document everything yourself. Write down every detail of the work accident and injury that you can think of.
A workplace injury could potentially require a lot of treatment to get better. And, to make matters worse, you may even need to miss some time from work to do so. Luckily, workers in Missouri can benefit from workers compensation that can help cover these treatments and get a partial reimbursement of their lost wages.
However, you should know there is a procedure you’ll need to follow to receive your benefits. Not doing so or missing even just one step could potentially get your claim denied. Here’s what you need to do within the first week of your injury.
Immediate Medical Care if It’s an Emergency
If something goes wrong at work and you get injured, you or a co-worker should call 911 at once. The paramedics may then take you to the hospital for further treatment if needed. You should not refuse out of fear you’ll have to cover these expenses – workers compensation benefits include emergency room treatment and ambulance rides.
However, know that your employer and the insurance company have a legal right to choose your doctor in Missouri. Because of this, it is possible that if you visit a doctor that’s not on their list of approved care providers before filing a claim, those costs may not be included in your benefits. This principle does not apply for emergency care, however, and your St. Louis workers comp lawyer can even negotiate with the insurance company to cover the initial medical visit as well.
File an Official Injury Report
The law requires you to file an official, written report with your employer where you describe the injury, accident, and your intent to get workers compensation benefits.
The law also states that you should report your injury within 30 days of the accident. If you wait longer, you may be risking your eligibility. However, to speed things up as much as you can, you should file this report as soon as you can, even the same day if you are able to. Once this report is on record the entire process can begin.
Document Everything Yourself
At a trial, final hearing, or deposition, to prevail on disputed issues you will need documentation that is better and more reliable than what the adjuster, employer, and their doctor has. Therefore, as soon as you are able, document everything yourself. Write down every detail of the accident and injury that you can think of. Even details that you may not think are important, write them down.
In addition, do not assume that your employer or doctor will accurately document the facts, your complaints, your request for additional care, or other details about you injury that you may think are important.
Contact a Work Injury Lawyer
For over 20 years our St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney James M. Hoffmann has been working to protect the rights of Missouri workers who have been injured on the job. When we take on your case you can be sure that everything will be done to protect your rights and get you the compensation you and your family need to recover and move forward.