Independent Medical Exams
Following a workplace injury, the employer may ask the injured victim to undergo an independent medical examination (IME). During this exam, the hurt employee will have his or her injuries evaluated to diagnose the ailment, determine the severity of the affliction, and recommend treatment, if necessary.
Injured workers should understand the doctors performing the IME are chosen by the insurance companies. During these exams, workers are advised to be polite and cooperative with the physician and inform him or her of any and all pain they may be experiencing.
Report To Supervisor
Injured workers need to immediately report the accident to their supervisors. This is the critical first step to documenting your claim. Your employer’s role may be just as important as you or your attorneys, make sure to tell them about your injury. Employers have steps that they must take after becoming aware of a workplace accident. By informing your employer, you may begin a dialogue that creates a record of correspondence and a timeline of the events as they took place. You and your attorney may then be able to request any other documents created by them out of this information. Having documentation about the nature and time of your injury is vitally important to preserving your claim and helping convince otherwise skeptical parties you injury warrants proper benefits. Employees should fill out an LS-201, Notice of Employee’s Injury or Death form to let their employer know about the injury.
Seek Care Immediately
After informing the employer of the accident and injury, injured employees should seek immediate medical treatment to treat conditions and create a health record of the event. By informing the employer and having medical conditions documented immediately after an accident, injured workers start their claims process on the right foot and help their attorneys make a strong case for their benefits. Employees should ask for authorization from their employer to see a physician of their choice. Not only does that create a record of correspondence acknowledging an injury may have taken place but also allows victims to visit doctors that do not have an overly close relationship with insurance companies. Physicians may also provide recommendations about whether employee is fit to return to work or whether they may need ongoing medical care to treat ailments.
Request and Keep Copies of
Incident and Medical Reports
Collecting copies of documents surrounding an injury are extremely important to help victims and their attorneys in the claims process. By getting out ahead and obtaining copies of all pertinent paperwork, attorneys and clients can work together to craft the best legal strategy to maximize benefits.
● Obtaining copies of your medical records helps attorneys understand what benefits should be provided to the injured employee. Attorneys have years of experience prosecuting claims and can help injured workers get benefits for long term medical care the injured worker may not understand is necessary to full recovery.
● Clinical records can help show the employee’s health progress and whether or not they are responding to treatment. This may be important when filing wage claims for disabilities.
● Incident reports help give attorneys, claims adjusters, and courts concrete timelines about when the accident took place and the extent of an injury. It is important that any documentation that helps tell the story from the injured party be available to craft a strong case and help prosecute a claim.
Getting the proper documentation is an ongoing process and clients will need to work closely with attorneys to gather all the necessary information. As these types of documents become available, the injured employee will need to collect and forward them to his or her attorney.
Verifying and Preserving Your Injury Claim
By informing your employer about your accident, getting medical treatment, and requesting copies of any important documents, your attorney can verify your claim and make sure your case is as strong as possible.
Properly prosecuting claims requires your attorney having the right documents to show their clients suffered injuries and require ongoing medical treatment or their ability to work was affected by the accident.
You Have 1 Year To File Claim With D.O.L.
The Defense Base Act is very clear about timelines when filing claims. Injured workers have one year from the time of the injury to file claims with the Department of Labor. Employees who do not adhere to these strict time deadlines may be unable to pursue claims for compensation, not matter how legitimate or necessary the claim.
Government contractors and their insurance companies are not in the business of helping injured workers but instead are focused on maximizing profits and paying as little compensation that may hurt their bottom line. These entities may use any excuse not to pay legitimate claims and failure to obey time lines is only one of them.