The last thing that anybody wants is to sustain an injury on the job. However, workplace injuries and illnesses are not uncommon in Georgia. The good news is that the Georgia workers’ compensation system is generally good at doing exactly what it is supposed to do – pay claims to those who sustain a workplace injury or illness. However, there are times when employers or insurers delay or deny valid workers’ comp claims. Here, we want to discuss steps that you can take to ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to.
Tips for Ensuring Prompt Payment of Workers’ Comp Benefits in GA
- Report the injury as soon as possible. In Georgia, work injuries need to be reported within 30 days from the date they occur or from when they are diagnosed. Failing to report the injury within this time frame could result in a claim denial.
- Get the names and contact info of any witnesses. If there were any witnesses to the workplace accident, make sure to get their names and contact information. Witnesses will be key to establishing proof that the incident happened at work.
- Seek medical treatment immediately. If you are injured at work, make sure that you go to the emergency room or your doctor immediately. Delaying treatment could result in a claim denial.
- Make sure to explain how you got hurt. Insurance carriers will deny workers’ compensation claims if the initial medical records do not adequately describe the accident and injury. You need to do your best to clearly explain to your healthcare provider how the injury occurred. You do not need to elaborate, but they do need the basic details.
- Fill out all accident forms accurately. Claims are often denied because injured employees incorrectly fill out accident reports. These reports need to be accurate, with the same details of the story you tell to your employer and medical provider.
- Make sure your statements are consistent. Any statement that you give needs to remain consistent throughout the entire course of your workers’ compensation claim.
- Sign a limited medical authorization form. You should sign a limited medical authorization form so that your insurer can access copies of the medical records related to the injury.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Do not delay medical care. Delaying medical care after a workplace injury will likely result in a claim denial.
- Do not end your medical care early. You need to continue receiving medical care until a physician says you have reached maximum medical improvement.
- Do not delay reporting the injury. If you do not report the injury to your employer within 30 days or if you miss the one-year statute of limitations for Georgia workplace injury claims, your claim will likely be denied.
- Do not give a recorded statement. You should never give a recorded statement to an insurance carrier or your employer. Anything you say in a recorded statement could be used against you later.
- Do not sign a complete medical release. The medical release that you sign should only be for records related to the incident that happened at work. Do not sign a complete medical history over to insurance carriers because they can use pre-existing injuries against you.
- Do not put off speaking to an attorney. Never delay seeking assistance from a worker’s compensation lawyer, particularly if you think there may be trouble securing benefits for your claim.