What to Do if Your Workers' Comp Claim is Denied
When you get injured on the job, workers' compensation insurance is supposed to be there to provide benefits to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. However, sometimes workers' compensation claims can be denied, leaving injured workers in a difficult position. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some steps you can take to fight back and get the benefits you deserve.
What Exactly is Workers' Compensation?
Workers' compensation, also known as workman's compensation, is a type of insurance that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their job. These benefits typically cover medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and other related expenses. Workers' compensation laws vary by state and country, but in general, they are designed to protect both employees and employers by providing a no-fault system that compensates employees for workplace injuries or illnesses regardless of who was at fault for the incident. Employers are required to provide workers' compensation insurance to their employees.
Steps to Take After a Workers' Comp Claim is Denied
Being denied for workers' comp can be a devastating blow, but it doesn't have to mean the end of your claim. Steps to take after denial include understanding why your claim was denied, getting a second opinion, hiring a workers' compensation attorney, filing an appeal, keeping detailed records, being patient, and considering other sources of support. By pursuing action and staying persistent, you can overcome a denied workers' compensation claim and get the support you need to recover from your injury.
Understand Why Your Claim Was Denied
Before you can take any steps to fight a denial of your workers' compensation claim, you need to understand why it was denied in the first place. Some common reasons for denial include:
- Failure to report the injury in a timely manner
- Lack of medical evidence to support the claim
- Pre-existing condition or injury that contributed to the injury
- The injury did not occur on the job
- The injury was not severe enough to qualify for benefits
If you're not sure why your claim was denied, contact your employer or their workers' compensation insurance provider and ask for an explanation. This can help you identify any issues with your claim that need to be addressed before you move forward.
Get a Second Opinion
If you disagree with the reason your claim was denied, you can request an independent medical examination (IME) with a doctor of your choosing. An IME is an evaluation performed by a physician who is not affiliated with your employer or their insurance company. The doctor will examine you and review your medical records to determine if your injury is work-related and if you are eligible for benefits.
Consider Hiring a Workers' Compensation Attorney
If your claim has been denied and you are having trouble getting the benefits you deserve, it may be time to hire a workers' compensation attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the legal system and fight for your rights. They can review your case, identify any legal issues, and help you file an appeal if necessary.
File an Appeal
If your claim has been denied, you have the right to file an appeal with your state's workers' compensation board or commission. The appeal process can be complicated and time-consuming, but it is often the best way to get the benefits you deserve. You will need to provide evidence to support your claims, such as medical records, witness statements, and expert testimony.
Keep Detailed Records
Throughout the workers' compensation process, it's important to keep detailed records of all your medical appointments, treatments, and expenses. This includes any time you've missed from work, as well as any communication you've had with your employer or their insurance company. This information can be used to support your claim and help you get the benefits you deserve.
Consider Other Sources of Support
If your workers' compensation claim is denied, you may be eligible for other sources of support. For example, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer if they were negligent in some way. You may also be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if your injury is severe enough to prevent you from working for an extended period of time.
The workers' compensation process can be slow and frustrating, but it's important to be patient and persistent. Keep in mind that the insurance company's goal is to minimize their costs, not to provide you with the benefits you need. Don't give up if your claim is denied initially – keep fighting for your rights and seeking the medical treatment you need.