Workers' compensation is an insurance program that covers people who are injured at work or who develop an occupational disease, so it is not surprising that your claim will have to provide evidence that you were indeed injured—or exposed to something that made you ill—at work. Perhaps in a perfect world, you would be taken at your word. But this is not a perfect world, so you must provide strong and consistent evidence.
Documenting Symptoms to Establish a Clear Cause of Injury
Workers don't plan to fall off a ladder or develop a repetitive-use injury, so it's hard to be prepared when it does happen. However, if you are honest and transparent about the accident and write down everything, you will have taken important steps to strengthen your claim. We recommend doing the following:
- Report the injury to your employer and seek medical treatment immediately.
- Provide a consistent history of the incident to your employer, doctor, and on your claim documents.
- Document major events on a calendar, including when the accident occurred or when you first noticed symptoms, when you reported it, dates of doctor visits, and days you took off from work.
- Keep a daily journal of symptoms to document a worsening condition. Also, write down any medical treatment you have received, including medications and physical therapy.
You have one year from your accident to file a workers' comp claim, but we do not suggest waiting that long. The people deciding about your claim will look for discrepancies in your reporting of the incident and your symptoms, so you must stick to one story. Don't try to elaborate to sound more convincing. Just tell the truth.
If You Do All of This, You Probably Won't Need Me!
A strong and consistent claim should be approved with no need to hire a lawyer. If, however, your claim is unjustly denied or you are being pressured not to file a claim by your employer, talk to a workers' comp attorney. When you contact us, we will ask you to provide us with some important information, including your accident and injury documentation. If you have already taken some of those steps, we will be off and running quickly.