Two to three weeks is how long it usually takes to get workers’ compensation after filing a claim. Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and temporary or permanent disability if you are no longer able to work or if you can only work in a reduced capacity.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
The procedure and timeframe to file a workers’ compensation claim varies from state to state. The U.S. Department of Labor provides information on how to contact each state’s workers’ compensation office to file a claim.
You will be required to submit a report explaining what happened, your medical records, and the names of any witnesses to the accident. You may also have to undergo one or more independent medical examinations to assess the severity of your injuries.
It is essential that you adhere to your state’s requirements. If you do not follow the appropriate procedure, you may not be able to collect the benefits you deserve. Instead of trying to solve these matters alone, you should discuss your situation with a workers compensation attorney. While you tend to your health and recover, your lawyer handles everything from paperwork to meetings, negotiations, etc.
How Your Claim Will Be Evaluated
Businesses typically purchase workers’ compensation coverage from an insurance company, but in some cases, they insure themselves or purchase coverage from the state. When you file a workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company, the self-insured employer, or the state workers’ compensation agency will evaluate your claim.
A claims administrator will speak to you about what happened and review the accident report and your medical records, including the results of an independent medical examination. A claims administrator may also interview managers or employees who witnessed the accident.
State law may require your claim to be approved or denied within a specific timeframe. In some states, if a claim is not rejected within the period of time set by law, the claim is considered to be approved, and the injured employee is entitled to benefits, unless the insurer discovers new information later.
When You May Begin to Receive Benefits
In most cases, your employer, its insurance company, or the state has to pay your medical bills right away. If your case is complex or the circumstances that led to the injury are not clear, it may take time for the insurance company to investigate and decide whether you are eligible for other benefits.
If your claim is approved, you will then be entitled to compensation for lost income. A physician may have to complete a form stating that you are temporarily or permanently disabled. Injured employees typically begin to collect workers’ compensation benefits within a few weeks after filing a claim.
Reasons Why Your Claim May Be Denied
An insurance company or another entity that provides workers’ compensation coverage may try to avoid paying your claim, even if you are entitled to benefits. For example, an insurer may argue that you are not an employee, but rather a consultant or an independent contractor, and that you are therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation.
Even if you are officially classified as an independent contractor, the details of your arrangement with the company may fit the legal definition of an employer-employee relationship. For instance, if the company withholds taxes from your pay, that may be enough to have you recognized as an employee and therefore make you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Your employer or the insurer may argue that your injury was not work-related because it occurred when you were not at the workplace or because you violated company policy, and that led to your injury. An independent physician who examines you may claim that you were not hurt, that your injuries are not as serious as you claim they are, or that you had a preexisting injury.
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you should receive a letter explaining why. You may be able to appeal the decision, demonstrate that you are entitled to benefits, and get approved. Appeal procedures vary by state.
How a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help You
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, has represented clients across the United States in cases related to workers’ compensation. We can work with you to file a claim in accordance with your state’s rules. If your claim is denied, we may be able to appeal your decision and present evidence that your injuries are serious and work to secure compensation for you.
State laws on workers’ compensation vary significantly. If you do not follow your state’s procedures and meet its guidelines, you may not be able to obtain the benefits you deserve. Ben Crump Law, PLLC, has attorneys who are familiar with the workers’ compensation laws in different states.
A member of our team can explain the rules where you live and guide you through the process of filing a claim or appealing a denial. Call (800) 603-4224 to discuss your case and how we may be able to help you. We can tell you how long it usually takes to get workers’ compensation.