Mankato Workers’ Compensation Law Firm
So you’ve been injured at work, or have recently discovered a medical condition caused by your work. What now?
In an ideal world, your workplace would have a clear-cut and friendly procedure to go through from the moment of injury to the moment they hand you your worker’s compensation check. In the real world, things are not always so clear-cut. Some workplaces are friendly enough about dealing with injuries, but they don’t have a clear procedure to file a compensation claim. Others know all about worker’s comp claims and become actively hostile if you even suggest that you might impact their precious insurance premiums with a plebeian claim. And in many cases, you’re not sure which kind of workplace you’re in until something goes wrong.
Today, we’re here to offer a quick walkthrough on how to safely get started filing your workers’ compensation claim. Along with how to avoid potential retaliation and treat your employer with due respect at the same time. Here’s how to do it:
Log the Injury Immediately With Your Employer
Workers’ compensation always starts with an injury report. Without a report of the injury, there can be no claim. In most healthy workplaces, your supervisor will offer you a chance to file an injury report immediately after your injury has been dealt with on-site. This gives you the chance to decide if
- It’s a paper cut and no report or claim is necessary,
- That it’s a minor injury, but one worth logging for safety reasons, or
- That you intend to file a worker’s comp claim and will need the injury recorded.
It’s okay to not know if you plan to go through with a claim while filing your report. But always start by reporting your injury with your employer.
For Medical Conditions:
If you have discovered a medical condition caused by your work conditions, talk to your doctor and your supervisor (or HR) about how to file a report based on your medical results instead.
Have a Personal Doctor Assess the Injury
Next, get your own private medical opinion. Do not allow your employer or their insurance company to send you to a doctor if at all possible. Instead, you need an independent medical opinion on the severity and recovery path of your injury that does not come from your employer. This is for your own protection, so that no insurance scheme can understate your injury to lowball your settlement offer.
Consult With a Worker’s Compensation Lawyer
Before you file a worker’s compensation claim with your employer, or even mention you intend to, consult with an employment lawyer who focuses on work comp claims in your area. Explain the situation to them, show them the medical reports, and consult on what to expect from the claim filing process. Insurance companies like to run claimants around and lowball offers. A lawyer can help you prepare for that and protect you from dirty negotiation tactics. Along with protection from employer retaliation if that becomes an issue.
Prepare and File Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Working with your lawyer and, ideally, your employer — prepare your workers’ compensation claim. Include detailed documentation of the injury. Include a clear account of how the injury occurred, possibly with testimony from witnesses if necessary. Consult with your lawyer if anything seems too complicated or feels like a trap. Then keep your own copy of everything and file the claim. A good lawyer would actually take care of the entire process for you.
Protect Yourself from Retaliation if Necessary
If your workplace has suddenly become a hostile environment, or you have reason to believe that it might, it’s important to protect yourself. It is illegal for workplaces to retaliate against staff who file for workers’ compensation. But some do anyway and try to hide it or simply bully you out of the job before the settlement is complete.
Keep detailed personal records of any abuse, retaliation, or threats you face as a result of filing your claim and consult with your lawyer on other ways to protect yourself.
Work With a Lawyer to Negotiate a Fair Settlement
Finally, be prepared to negotiate. Insurance settlements often involve an extensive negotiation on the severity of injuries, amount of lost wages, total treatment needed for recovery, and the cost of everything. A work comp lawyer is your best ally in protecting yourself from insurance lowball schemes and successfully negotiating for a fair settlement.
Always be Respectful
Finally, remember to always be courteous, respectful, and clear-spoken with your employer when discussing the injury or claim. In some cases, the insurance company will act dishonorably but your employer is still supportive and on your side, In others, remaining polite may be the key to surviving retaliation or resistance to your filing a claim. The more cool-headed you are in the face of obstacles, the better you will fare.
For more information about how to file a worker’s compensation claim in Minnesota or to consult on the unique details of your case, contact us today!
Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer