- December 15, 2021
- Attorney David Mann
- Workers' Compensation
Should you obtain injuries on the job, you could receive workers’ compensation. However, if you do not correctly file your claim, the Workers’ Compensation board could deny your claim. There are ways you can maximize your workers’ compensation settlement to get the compensation you deserve. In most cases, you do not have to prove that your employer was at fault for your injuries, but you do have to show that you were injured on the job.
Negotiating Your Workers’ Comp Settlement
One of the most common questions we hear is, “How do you negotiate a workers’ comp settlement to get the most possible benefits?” As with any other insurance company, workers’ comp insurance companies are in business to make a profit, which means they will not want to pay a claim – or they will try to pay as little as possible. Filing a claim correctly and taking other actions can help you maximize your workers’ comp settlement.
Steps to Maximize Your Workers’ Comp Settlement
There are several important steps in the process of filing a workers’ comp claim, and following these steps correctly will strengthen your case.
Seek Medical Attention and Document Your Injuries
After suffering an injury at work, make sure you seek immediate medical attention. Never wait to see if something will heal on its own. The workers’ comp insurance company could use this against you by saying that you couldn’t have been hurt since you waited to get medical attention. This gives the insurance company a reason to deny your claim or to argue that you were not injured at work.
Tell Your Employer About Your Injury
Always tell your employer about your injury as soon as possible. If you wait too long, your employer and/or the workers’ comp insurance company might not believe that you were injured. Your employer will most likely have a report to fill out. If not, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a Report of Injury form that you can use. Complete the form as thoroughly as possible as this is the insurance company’s notification that you suffered an injury.
You must report your injury to your employer. You cannot be fired or harassed because you reported an injury. If your employer harasses you, fires you, or otherwise causes retribution because of your injury or because you reported an injury, seek the help of a workers’ compensation attorney immediately.
File Your Workers’ Comp Claim Immediately
As soon as you tell your employer about your injury, you must file a workers’ compensation claim. You could receive compensation for lost wages and medical expenses. If you wait longer than 30 days in Georgia, you could lose access to your benefits. Your attorney can help you fill out the Report of Injury and alert you to deadlines during the claim process. Filing these forms correctly are an important part of the process and can help you maximize your workers’ comp settlement.
Choose Your Doctor
In most cases, workers’ compensation insurance companies have authorized doctors that they work with. If your doctor is not on the insurance company’s authorized list, you might have to choose another doctor. You should also keep in mind that the doctor works for the insurance company – even if it is your doctor. This may mean the doctor has a conflict of interest. For example, a doctor might deny certain tests or might say that you can go back to work before you are fully recovered so that he or she can continue getting regular compensation from the workers’ compensation insurance company.
If you have any doubts or questions about a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment, you should seek a second opinion. You can also turn to a workers’ compensation attorney for legal guidance.
A Full Description of Your Injuries Can Help Maximize Your Workers’ Comp Settlement
When you go to the doctor, be sure to explain how you were injured on the job. Be very thorough. Do not make any excuses for your injury – the doctor could tell the insurance company, which could, in turn, cause the insurance company to decrease your compensation or deny your claim.
If you have a pre-existing condition, make sure your doctor knows that it in no way prevented you from working and that it did not cause your injury. Always be very specific when speaking to your doctor, and do not inadvertently give him something the insurance company can use against you.
The Independent Medical Examination
The insurance company will most likely ask you to go to a doctor for an independent medical examination (IME). The insurance company can ask for an IME at any time and as many times as it deems necessary. However, in most cases, the insurance company asks for an IME when you reach maximum medical improvement – the point at which you will not further recover, even if you get additional treatment.
The insurance company uses this as a second opinion if the workers’ comp board determines that you qualify for permanent benefits. You must complete the IME to continue getting paid.
The workers’ compensation insurance company will probably ask you to sign a release for your medical records. Under no circumstances should you give it a general release for your medical records. Your medical health is none of the insurance company’s business. The only thing that you should sign a release for is the injury you sustained at work. Make sure you give access to certain medical records as of the date of your injury – not before.
Daily Living During the Workers’ Comp Claim Process
Insurance Companies May Have Investigators Monitor You
Keep in mind that the insurance company may have an investigator watching you as you go about your daily life. The investigators could also watch your home. You must be careful of doing activities that show you are not injured, such as carrying groceries into the house, picking up a child, or even walking to the mailbox. The investigators may record video of you so the insurance company can attempt to show that you are not injured.
The insurance company can also watch you by checking your social media, scrutinizing medical records to look for notations that you are not following instructions or taking medications, or not keeping appointments.
What is the Highest Workers’ Comp Settlement?
When you are interested in maximizing your workers’ comp settlement, you may want to know the highest amount possible. In a workers’ comp settlement, you get two-thirds of your weekly salary while you are on workers’ compensation. The highest amount you can get would be $675 per week if the accident happened after July 1, 2019. If your injuries force you to take a lower-paying job, you can recover compensation for reduced earning capacity. The highest amount you can get in that situation is $450 per week for 300 weeks.
Only if the workers’ compensation doctors determine that you have catastrophic injuries will you be able to collect permanent benefits, which would be the highest settlement amount possible, given the payments may be for an indeterminate amount of time.
Contact a Workers’ Comp Attorney
If you suffered injuries on the job, contact our workers’ compensation attorney at Mann Law Firm by calling (478) 742-3381 to schedule a free case evaluation. To ensure you maximize your workers’ comp case, you should work with an attorney who can help you file your initial claim and guide you through the process.