Work accidents resulting in work injuries happen unexpectedly. Unfortunately, you may be unprepared for the work injury in most cases and not know what measures to take. Unfortunately, not knowing the proper steps to take after a work-related injury may interfere with your worker’s compensation, and in some cases, your health and future work.
This article discusses the most common mistakes people make after a work injury in Atlanta and how they affect your worker’s compensation claim and benefits.
1. Failing To Report Your Work Injury
In Atlanta, you are required to report a work injury to your supervisor or employer within 30 days after it occurs. While it’s better to report the injury as soon as it happens, the 30-day period provides ample time to recognize a job injury. If you fail to report the injury within 30 days, you forfeit your claim to worker’s compensation benefits.
These rules are created and enforced by the State Board of Worker’s Compensation in Georgia. Postponing the reporting increases the chances of questions being raised to investigate the work injury or revoke your claim. Usually, your employer has claim forms that you fill to report the job injury.
However, you are not required to report the injury in writing. As long as you inform your supervisor, employer, or whoever you report to, you have made the report. However, writing is the best way to report because you can make a copy of the report and keep it for evidence.
Sometimes, workers postpone reporting an injury because they believe they’ll get better. However, the injury may extend and worsen your condition over time. Always report your injury and be as specific as possible. Include details such as:
- The date and time when the accident occurred
- Your location where the injury happened
- The activity you were doing when the accident occurred
- The symptoms you noticed after the accident
- Parts of the body affected by the accident and injury
- The names of any witnesses
2. Failing to Disclose Past Injuries
Another common mistake workers in Atlanta make is failing to disclose past injuries when making a work injury compensation claim. Unfortunately, this includes past injuries you got on the job and failed to disclose due to fear of losing your job. As a result, your claim may face dismissal on the grounds of being false.
When filing your medical forms, be sure to discuss your case with the medical doctor or insurance adjuster. Report any injuries you have gotten during the job, no matter how minimal. It’s best to be as honest as possible to prevent the employer’s insurance company from claiming that your current injury is due to a pre-existing condition.
While the insurance company may try to create a connection between the current injury and the pre-existing one, it’s better to argue that the previous injury is unrelated instead of fighting a worker’s compensation fraud charge.
3. Failing to Disclose All Injuries
Another common mistake employees in Atlanta make is failing to disclose the total extent of their work-related injuries. For example, if you have a slip and fall accident at work, you may get a back and leg injury. When you visit the doctor, be sure to inform them of both injuries.
Failing to report the total extent of your injuries and disclosing them may look like you’re trying to acquire more compensation than you’re entitled to. Unfortunately, you also run the risk of being charged with worker’s compensation fraud.
As you make your report, remember to include any symptoms related to the work accident. Work injuries can cause more than physical trauma and pain. For example, if you start experiencing blurry vision, loss of motor function, and disease-like symptoms, report them too. Such symptoms may develop after injuries such as head trauma and exposure to dangerous chemicals at work.
When you seek treatment, ask your doctor as many questions as possible and understand your diagnosis and treatment. Once the authorized physician sees you, note the doctor’s general descriptions about your work status.
For example, if the doctor writes “no work” or “light duty,” take these instructions seriously to avoid aggravating your injury and allow healing. Your employer or supervisor should assign you to a role that suits your restrictions.
4. Failing to Take Medical Care and a Drug Test
You are required by law to take medical treatment and rehabilitation services offered by the State Board of Worker’s Compensation. Failure to accept treatment for your injury suspends your benefits.
You are also required to take a drug test following your work injury in Atlanta. If you fail to submit the drug test after an injury, the employer’s insurance company may argue that your injury was caused by drugs and alcohol and deny your benefits.
5. Failing to Return to Work When the Time Comes
After suffering a work-related injury, it may be tempting to avoid any position offered with work restrictions. The wages may be lower than your usual pay, but failure to take the position demonstrates voluntary loss of income. What’s more, your employer may take measures to dismiss you for “refusal to work.”
The best course of action is to take the offer. However, if the duties in the job interfere with your injury and restrictions, file a claim showing that you cannot perform your duties. Usually, if you are out of work for more than seven days, you are entitled to weekly income benefits to cushion you for the lost wages.
6. Filing a Case Without Representation
Once it’s time to negotiate your worker’s compensation claim, be sure to hire a work injury lawyer to represent you. While it’s true that you can represent yourself in court, it’s rarely the best way to get the best compensation for your work injuries.
Your employer’s insurance company will have legal representation and will investigate your case. The legal team will also employ their evidence and arguments to reduce your compensation or dismiss your case.
Hiring a worker’s compensation attorney helps you navigate insurance and work injury laws in Atlanta. A personal lawyer also gathers evidence and argues the case in your favor to get you the best compensation.
Hire a Worker’s Compensation Attorney in Atlanta
Handling a work injury can be daunting, especially if you’re alone. Fortunately, Hines Law represents employees with work-related injuries and helps you claim adequate compensation to treat your injury and pay for your expenses after a work injury in Atlanta.
Contact us today to find a worker’s compensation lawyer in Atlanta.