The worker’s compensation insurance industry is worth a staggering $56.8 billion as of this year. Accidents at work are far-too-common, but are employees really getting what they deserve?
Most employees do not foresee an injury happening at work, not least of which a debilitating issue such as a back injury. This means that workers are not prepared for injury or to take an extended period of time off work, for that matter.
If you want to learn more about how to prove a back injury at work and receive adequate compensation, check out this blog for more.
1. Make Sure to Report Your Injury Right Away
If you’re able to report your injury to your employer before you head to the hospital or doctor, do so. There’s no good in downplaying your injury to your supervisor, manager, or colleagues. It’s also not advisable to ”wait and see” how bad your injury actually is.
The first and best thing you can do in order to prove a back injury at work is to report as soon it happens. Don’t be tempted into using your sick leave or vacation leave to take time off work to nurse an injury. You are entitled to worker’s compensation if your injury is work-related — even if you think it’s not worth claiming for.
Delaying the report of your injury and compensation claim process only opens up avenues for your employer to dispute your claim.
2. Always See Your Own Doctor
Nine-times-out-of-ten, your employer will advise you to see the company-provided healthcare system when assessing an injury. But one of the most important things you can do for your case is to visit your own private doctor.
Company healthcare providers may not provide a fully accurate account of the extent of your injury. And an unsupportive medical opinion is very hard to come back from. Don’t make the mistake of submitting a compensation claim with an inaccurate medical report.
3. Don’t Be Brave About Your Injury
One of the worst things you do to prove your claim is to downplay it to your doctor, or worse, the company doctor. Be 100 percent honest about how you’re feeling. Go into detail about your pain levels, how the injury happened, and how it could affect your quality-of-life.
Without this accurate information, how else will your doctor know how you’re feeling? Their records may not report on the extent of your injuries, which will only create an inaccurate picture of your compensation case from the get-go.
4. Remember That Everything You Say and Do Is Evidence
As soon as you report your back injury, remember that you will be monitored throughout your compensation claim process. Many companies use surveillance to catch out injured workers in order to provide evidence that contradicts your claim.
Company doctors and staff will also routinely assess you for any sign that you could be overplaying an injury. Be aware of your social media and online presence and what you post online, too.
It’s best to work with an experienced worker’s compensation attorney who can advise you on every step of the claim process in order to avoid any of these pitfalls.
5. Don’t Be Too Quick to Refuse a Change in Duties
In many cases, your employer may be willing to offer you a change in position or duties, such as lighter work to accommodate your injuries. Try not to be too hasty in turning down this offer. Ultimately, it may force you into a decision that you shouldn’t make on-the-spot.
Thank your employer for the offer, and let them know you’ll consider it and come back to them. In the meantime, you want to get the all-clear from your doctor that you can or can’t take on this new role.
The same goes for discussing your options with your attorney. They can help you build a case and provide a valid reason why you cannot take on the new role, which supports your overall compensation claim.
If you turn down your employer’s offer right away, they can use your refusal to refute or mitigate your compensation claim. Remember that your employer is required to get the all-clear from your doctor to ensure you can take on the new role, too.
6. Don’t be Tempted to Return to Work Too Soon
We understand, you want to get back on your feet and return to your job like a loyal employee. But be wary of returning to work after a work-related lower back injury. Or any other injury for that matter.
First of all, it’s incredibly important to allow yourself the time you need to heal properly. Secondly, going back to work too soon can negatively impact your compensation claim. Your employer may jump on this as an opportunity to prove that your injuries are not that severe. They can use this evidence to dispute your claim and derail the entire process.
Take your time heading back to work and this could benefit your claim in the long-run.
7. Don’t Just Accept Your Disability Rating
Often times when you are injured at work, you are issued a disability rating which basically determines what your compensation payout could be. But, it’s important to do your homework on the right type of rating that you qualify for. You don’t have to just accept what you’re issued if it doesn’t seem right.
Your attorney should be able to assist you with this process and advise you on the best disability rating for your specific case. There are a number of factors that affect a disability rating, too.
You should consider who issued the rating, which doctor(s) support the rating, and whether your treatment is actually finished. You may need one or a few more treatments or procedures to aid in your recovery — this also affects a disability rating.
By working with the right claim attorney, you should be able to qualify for the right disability rating and the compensation you deserve.
Trusted Advice on How to Prove a Back Injury at Work
No one wants to face a work-related injury, the stress of recovery, and a loss of income. Granted, it’s not an ideal situation. But at Eames Law Group, you have a team of dedicated and experienced compensation attorneys to fight in your corner.
If you’re looking for additional advice or legal support on how to prove a back injury at work, get in touch with our firm.