If you are injured while working, the last thing you likely want to think about is paperwork, but that is necessary to get your workers’ compensation benefits. To make it a little easier on you when you are actually injured, this guide will go over the basics regarding what forms you should and should not sign.
After an injury, your first priority should be to get the medical attention you need. Not only is this important for your wellbeing, you usually need to see a medical professional to receive workers’ comp. Once everything is taken care of medically and you are in a stable situation, you can turn your attention to compensation. All you really need to do is notify your employer about the injury. They should know what paperwork you need to sign and provide it for you. As with nearly everything else related to workers’ comp, the specific paperwork you need depends on what state you live in. It also depends on what kind of workers’ comp your employer has. It is possible to get workers’ comp through an independent insurance company or through a dedicated state agency. In most states, you have one year to open a workers’ comp case, and 30 days to report the injury to your employer.
What Not To Sign
While what paperwork you should sign depends on your location and circumstance, there are a few papers you should universally never sign.
- Statements describing the situation differently than you recall it
- Waivers of legal responsibility
- Compensation settlements outside of workers’ comp
All of these papers would reduce or remove the responsibility your employer has to compensate your injuries. If your employer asks you to sign one of these papers, it probably means he or she is trying to save money by avoiding covering your injuries. In addition to refusing to sign these papers, you should consider speaking with a workers’ compensation lawyer. This should also be your first step if your employer outright refuses to report the injury or file a workers’ comp claim. If you were injured while on the job, and not while on break or doing non-work-related activities, your employer has a legal responsibility to pay for your injuries regardless of who is at fault. If they refuse to pay through the workers’ comp system, then you have a good chance of successfully receiving compensation through a lawsuit. A workers’ compensation lawyer can tell you more about your legal options.