Injuries while on the job happen all the time. People do not typically plan or prepare for accidents, which is understandable but can also lead to mistakes. When you or a loved one suffers from an injury on the job, you need to know what to do and what not to do. Making common mistakes can often greatly decrease your potential settlement and benefits that an injured party may receive. It is important to be prepared ahead of time so that your post-accident stress is decreased.
Cesar Ornelas Law put together the top five mistakes people make after being injured on the job and during their following workers’ compensation case.
1. Not Reporting An Accident Promptly
The most common mistake is not reporting your accident to your employer right away. You must report your injury to your employer within 30 days from the date you were hurt or from the date you knew you knew your injury or illness was related to your job. If you do not inform your employer within 30 days, you may not get benefits.
Some exceptions do exist, but it is not worth living with the pain and suffering caused by the injury and then having to fight for compensation and defend your delayed report. Indeed, employers are often suspicious of work-related injury claims. If you wait longer than you should to report your injury, the higher the risk you run of having your injury’s validity called into question.
It is easy to assume that reporting your injury to your employer will result in you getting fired. In contrast, reporting it immediately will help if your condition worsens over time.
2. Failing To Disclose Previous Injuries
The second most common mistake made by injured employees is failing to disclose any previous work-related injuries. You may think that previous accidents seemed minor at the time, or you were hurt and did not report the previous injury out of concern for job safety. However, any failure to report previous incidents could result in losing your compensation entirely.
If you do not file an official report regarding prior injuries, there is a possibility that it could be considered fraud. It is entirely possible that you may face repayments of worker’s compensation finances or that you may lose your compensation altogether.
It is essential to be transparent about any history of being hurt on the job. At the same time, you fill out your medical history forms for a doctor’s visit or when you are speaking with an insurance adjustor. This obligation exists even when disclosing information regarding a condition unrelated to your previous injury. The employer’s insurance company may use this information against your claim by saying that your injury was a pre-existing condition rather than the result of the current work injury.
3. Not Reporting ALL Injuries.
The third most common mistake is failing to report the total extent of your injuries to your doctor or health care provider. If you fall and hurt your arm and experience back pain, do not forget to disclose it. Failing to report secondary injuries and then mentioning them later can make it look like you are attempting to claim more than you are entitled to. In the worst-case scenario, this also risks appearing as if you are committing worker’s compensation fraud.
In addition to the physical pain caused by an injury, you must report ALL the symptoms that you are experiencing concerning the work accident. These injuries involve more than just pain but include decreased or loss of motor functions, blurred vision, stomach issues, flu-like symptoms, and more. These symptoms are common after certain types of accidents, such as a head injury or exposure to chemicals in the workplace.
During early treatment, you may feel recovered, or in some cases, even worse than when the treatment started. Either way, be upfront, transparent, and clear about your symptoms, pain level, and complaints with your doctor. It is also helpful to list any questions you may have before and during treatment and discuss them with your doctor. If you need further clarification on details about your injury, ask the doctor to go over hers/his findings. When receiving a diagnosis, treatment plan, or other information, you must do your due diligence and confirm that you understand what your doctor is saying.
Once your doctor sees you, they will inform you about your work status. In this conversation, you will be giving a general description such as ‘work with restriction,’ ‘light duty,’ or ‘no work.’ After your physician approves your return to work, even if it is only for light-duty, your employer is obligated to find a position that will suit your restrictions.
4. Not Returning To Work When Able To Do So
The fourth mistake is failing to return to work when your doctor reports that you can. Your return to work may involve a decrease in wages, but failing to accept the adjusted position can be considered a voluntary loss of income. This could result in the loss of further compensation and benefits, and your employer can terminate you for your refusal to work.,
Even if you cannot perform the duties of the position offered, you are still obligated to try. You can claim that you cannot follow through with the new posts if you show that the duties of the job are beyond your restrictions.
5. Being The Only One Without Representation
The fifth mistake made by workplace injury sufferers is choosing to handle their cases independently and without legal representation. Technically, you are allowed to represent yourself in court, but this is highly discouraged.
Your employer and the insurance company will be consulting with legal representation regarding your case, so you should be as well. Insurance companies have been known to limit compensation or even deny claims if you cannot provide proper legal representation.
Finding The Right Personal Injury Attorney
Even if your case appears to be open and shut, it is better to find an attorney, such as Cesar Ornelas Law, who has the experience and knowledge to represent your interests accurately. Insurance companies are known for finding loopholes that you may not have spotted on your own to give you an idea. With an attorney present, you can avoid falling into these loopholes and stand to receive a better outcome in your case.
Navigating the law regarding the complex inner workings of insurance carriers, employment claims, and medical treatments is far more complicated than it may seem at the beginning of your case. Even if your case feels open and shut, finding an attorney with the experience and knowledge to represent and support you accurately is better. With an experienced attorney on your side, it sends a message to your employer and the insurance companies that you are to be taken seriously.
Contact Cesar Ornelas Law For A FREE Consultation
Cesar Ornelas Law has extensive experience in representing injured employees of all kinds after an accident. Whether it be lost wages, physical and mental disabilities, or the stressful costs associated with the aftermath of on-the-job injuries, Cesar Ornelas Law can help. Our experienced workers will help you every step of the way to pursue rightful and just compensation and maintain close communication with you the entire time.
During a free consultation with one of our attorneys, we can discuss the details of your incident, what should happen next, and how you can proceed going forward. We are proud of our representation and ability. Contact Cesar Ornelas Law today or give us a call at (855) 710-4912 to let us show you how we earned it.
Originally from Kyle, Texas, Mr. Ornelas is a first-generation college graduate and a first-generation attorney.
Licensed in Texas, Cesar Ornelas’s nationwide practice is entirely contingency fee-based and consists of a wide variety of catastrophic personal injury and death cases. He has represented countless victims of catastrophic accidents across the United States.