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Tips for Handling a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Unfortunately, injuries can occur to anyone – at any time.  If you have been injured while on the job, you have a right to receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer and its workers’ compensation insurance company.  Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws were enacted to protect injured employees and their families through the provision of medical benefits, wage loss benefits, and other benefits, such as special loss, death, and funeral benefits.compensation

Knowing how to fully collect your workers’ compensation benefits under the law can sometimes be a daunting and complicated process.  In most situations, after a work-related accident occurs, employers (or, more likely, an employer’s insurance carrier) make obtaining fair and full compensation difficult, regardless of the circumstances, to avoid financial losses or other negative effects of losing an injury claim initiated by an employee.  For many employees and their families, dealing with and managing a workers’ compensation claim often becomes time-consuming, highly adversarial, and complex, as your employer’s insurance carrier attempts to reduce or completely deny your injury claim.

Whether a workers’ compensation claim is approved, contested, or even denied outright, often depends upon whether you were injured at work – and while working in the course and scope of your employment.  To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you must show that: (1) you were employed at the time of your injury; (2) your injury occurred while you were on the job; and (3) your injury was related to and in furtherance of your employment.  Here are a few tips for handling a workers’ compensation claim, which will help to increase your chances of successfully navigating a potentially complicated process.

Record Names and Contact Information For All Witnesses

An aggressive claims adjuster will try to use every trick at their disposal to make it appear as though your work-related injury was an existing medical problem, or one that occurred while you were not working.  With that being said, identifying witnesses who can verify and confirm that your injury occurred while you were at work will carry a lot of weight in winning your case.  So, as soon as is practicably possible, obtain the names and current contact information for all persons who witnessed your incident.  Remember, you may be unable to return to your place of employment, so getting telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and even social media account details of witnesses is something that you should do as soon as possible after a work accident.  If you are physically unable to get the information yourself, you should ask a coworker or family member for assistance.

Be Consistent and Protect Your Interests

The manner in which you explain the work-related accident, your injuries and how the accident occurred – to your supervisors, coworkers, physicians, etc. – should always remain consistent.  Even the smallest discrepancy can be used to discredit your account of the accident and/or create a basis to devalue or deny your claim.  To avoid inconsistencies, document all relevant events in writing at your earliest opportunity and obtain copies (or take pictures) of any and all incident reports and other documents referring or related to the accident and your injuries.

Consult an Attorney as Soon as Possible After a Work-Related Incident

Unsurprisingly, an injured worker, who is eager to have medical bills paid, and to be compensated for time away from work, is also often eager to comply with all requests made by an employer’s insurance carrier.  While cooperation with your employer’s carrier is encouraged (and many times required), it is important that you protect your own rights and interests – remember that your employer, and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier, will always focus on and put their interests first.  If an insurance adjuster requests that you provide a recorded statement, do not do so without first consulting and experienced workers’ compensation attorney.  A statement that is recorded under what appears to be casual circumstances can, and likely will, be used against you later, usually when you least expect it.  Consulting an attorney to handle and manage your workers’ compensation claim, as early as possible, will reduce the amount and number of times that you have to communicate with a claims adjuster.

Talk to a Attorney – Call Zwick Law

Before attempting to handle your claim alone, consider consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Zwick Law.  Our attorneys have experience dealing with employers and their insurance companies – Zwick Law will protect your interests while ensuring that you get the compensation that you deserve.

Our team at Zwick Law understands that a workplace injury can be life-altering, and we work on your behalf to obtain the full compensation you need and deserve.  For questions relating to a work-related injury claim, contact Matthew R Zwick, partner of Zwick Law, at (814) 371-6400 or mrz@zwick-law.com, to schedule a legal consultation and free case analysis.  At Zwick Law, we’re always here for you.[1]

 

 

[1] Disclaimer: The use of the Internet, Facebook and/or any other form of social media communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship.  Time-sensitive information should be directed immediately to the office of Zwick Law at (814) 371-6400.