If you are injured while on the job, or become ill due to the nature of your work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation insurance is purchased by your employer and offered to you in exchange for your agreement not to sue them for negligence due to your injuries.
Damages from a workers’ compensation claim can help you pay for medical bills and lost wages from missed work. The timeline for filing a workers’ compensation claim, however, can be a lengthy and complicated process.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
You should file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as you become injured. This is because letting a significant amount of time pass after the accident can be a red flag to the insurance company, and even result in a denial of your claim. Technically, you have a deadline of between 30 and 90 days, or even as long as 5 years, depending on your state. There are also deadline exceptions for filing a claim if your accident left you in a coma, or was otherwise severe, or if your illness is contagious.
If you are filing for workers’ compensation because of an illness, you should file as soon as you need to start taking time off from work for the illness, and when you realize that the cause is related to your workplace.
You should also notify employer promptly, within at least 7 days of the accident. Include the date, time, details of injury, and a list of witnesses, if possible.
Medical Treatment and Wage Verification
You should seek medical treatment for your injury, of course, but the technical deadline to seek treatment is 90 days after the injury. After that, your treating doctor has 3 days to fill out your medical reports and necessary forms. Note that your insurer or employer must pay for your medical treatment right away, regardless of the status of your claim.
Your employer has 6 days from the date of your request for compensation to fill out your wage verification form and send it to your insurer.
Notification of Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Status
The workers’ compensation insurer has 30 days from when you filed your claim to review your materials, accept or deny your claim, and notify you of the decision.
Appeals Process for Workers' Compensation Claims
If you feel your workers’ compensation claim was wrongly denied, you have 70 days from date of denial to make an appeal. Then, the insurer has 5 days to set a hearing date, and it must be within the next 30 days. After this hearing, the presiding hearing officer has 15 days to make a final decision about your workers’ compensation claim.
Hire a Workers' Compensation Lawyer
You should always hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to help you throughout the claims process and make sure you file your claim successfully. If you are confused or worried about the timeline and deadlines involved in filing a workers’ compensation claim, your lawyer can help you file successfully, as well as check on the status of your claim.