After a workplace injury, you probably have many uncertainties. Should you apply for workers’ compensation? What does the process look like? How long will you receive benefits? With so much uncertainty, it can be easy to make mistakes. These mistakes, though, may put your benefits at risk.
Mistake 1: Waiting to report your injury
If you experience a workplace injury, it can be tempting to push through it. However, reporting your injury or work-related illness to your employer is the first step toward getting the help you need to recover. The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health recommends reporting your injury right away, even if you don’t believe that your injuries are serious.
Mistake 2: Reporting only some of your injuries
You may not believe that your injuries or serious, and it can be easy to ignore a minor injury when you have one particularly severe injury. However, it is essential that you report all of your injuries and symptoms after an accident, not just the most challenging injuries. If you do not report all of your injuries right away, they may not be covered by your benefits. At worst, the authorities could accuse you of workers’ compensation fraud because of the delay in reporting.
Mistake 3: Not going back to work
While you may want to focus your attention on your health until you fully recover, the workers’ compensation system requires you to return to work when you are able. Your doctor will ease you into your return to work with restrictions or the requirement to work “light duty” positions. If your employer offers you one of these positions and you refuse, you may lose benefits and your employer could fire you for your refusal to work.
Even if you believe that you cannot perform the duties of the position they offer, you must at least try to work when your doctor believes that you can.
Mistake 4: Facing these challenges on your own
You work hard, and it can be tempting to handle your injuries on your own. You may think that you can work through your injury and pay for medical care out of your own paycheck. You may also be tempted to face the workers’ compensation process alone, without the aid of a lawyer. While you do have the option to do so, your recovery could depend on workers’ compensation benefits, and an attorney could be your greatest ally in getting those payments.