The most effective way to maximize your workers’ compensation settlement is to build a solid workers’ injury claim, learn how to work with insurance companies, and if necessary, seek the advice and services of a lawyer who can help you to understand your legal rights and negotiate on your behalf.
While various factors determine the settlement you receive, you can increase your chances of maximizing your workers’ compensation settlement by following the steps below.
Steps to Maximizing Your Workers’ Compensation Settlement
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Seek Immediate Medical Care
Following the accident, you should seek prompt medical attention even if you do not see any visible injuries. While some injuries manifest immediately, others do not produce symptoms until much later. Additionally, visiting the doctor provides the vital medical evidence needed to prove that your injuries were the result of the accident. It also documents the accident and describes your injuries and any ensuing limitations in great detail. Any delay to this step can result in the insurance company contesting the severity of your injuries.
Notify Your Employer of the Injury Promptly
Delaying this step can impact the terms of approval of your claim and even how much you receive in compensation. In the state of Georgia, according to § Title 34 Appx. Bd. Work. Comp. r. 61, workers must report work injuries and occupational diseases in writing within 30 days of the accident. Missing the deadline can result in losing your right to compensation. After you have notified your employer of your injuries, you will be given a Workers’ Compensation Form to complete. Fill out the claim form accurately and completely since it is the official report of the accident given to the insurance company. If you cannot fill the forms due to your injuries, ask a trusted family member or friend for help.
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Select or Change Your Doctor
While the laws and regulations surrounding workers’ compensation claims vary from state to state, you are most likely to receive treatment from a physician hired by the insurance company. Since these doctors are primarily paid by the insurance company, there may be a conflict of interest, impacting the way your injury is documented, diagnosed, and treated. Some may even go as far as minimizing your injury to prevent the insurance company from paying a larger settlement. If you live in a state that allows you to select or change doctors, take advantage of it. Just be sure to alert your assigned workers’ compensation insurance adjuster of your decision before moving forward.
Be Prepared for an Independent Medical Examination (IME)
The insurance company may require you to undergo an IME at any point in time. Unlike a regular doctor’s appointment, IMEs do not focus on the treatment of injuries. It consists of the insurance company hiring a doctor to review your medical records, perform an examination, determine the correlation between your injury and your work, and issue a report. The goal of IMEs is to determine when the insurance company expects you to make full recovery, resume work, and stop collecting benefits.
Keep Detailed Records
Excellent record keeping can have a significant impact on the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim. So, make sure you keep all paperwork relating to your claim, including letters from the insurance company and employer, completed forms, work restrictions, and any other documents that relate to your injury and your claim. You should also make notes of all conversations, emails, and phone calls with anyone involved in your claim, including any failed attempts to reach the insurance company. Remember that out-of-pocket expenses such as parking lot tickets, over-the-counter drugs, and gas are reimbursable, so keep records of those as well.
Do Not Accept the Insurance Company’s Initial Offer
Insurance companies may offer you a settlement amount that is significantly below to what you may be entitled. If the insurance company makes you an offer at the onset of your claim, do not accept it. This is a situation where it would be beneficial for you to have a lawyer to help you negotiate with the insurance company.
Get a Free Consultation with Bader Scott Injury Lawyers
If you sustained injuries at work, a personal injury lawyer from Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can help determine how much compensation you may be entitled to and fight for a successful outcome.
To get started, contact us today at (678)-562-5595 to speak with a member of our team.