Veteran attorneys, Wade Coye and Dan Smith from the Coye Law Firm, discuss workers compensation, medical treatments, and the various and complex paperwork required for claims.
One of the issues that we've seen from time to time in our office is where somebody may get hurt at work, and they may tell somebody at work, but they don't really need to go to the doctor right away, and a week later, it's bothering them a bit more. Let's talk a little bit about the procedural things people need to do to protect their rights under workers compensation for that circumstance where there wasn't paperwork done, maybe somebody's out on the job site, a construction worksite, or something like that, something happens, but no paperwork is generated, and then a week later, whatever the problem is, that person went to work, and then, later on, he said, you know they really need to go to the doctor because it's bothering them. Let's talk about some of the things they need to do.
That's one of the biggest problem we get. You know, people just want to be good employees, like what I have is bothering me but I'm not dying, so I'll just live with it. Well, because they don't understand the work comp system, what was a little problem later becomes a big problem because one of the law requirements is that we have to notify both your employer and under some circumstances the insurance carriers in so many days, and so what happens a lot of times is by the time they come to see us, the employer will say, oh no we never knew anything about this.
And what sort of notice requirements are there?
Well the new statute really says what you have to do is notify your employer within thirty days of the injury. What ends up happening a lot of times is that the employee does notify them. It happened at work, but there's no documentation to support that. So if the employer won't send you to work or to the doctor, some things we recommend is actually go to the doctor, and that way there is some written thing in the doctor's notes that's hard to dispute that later, but anything you could send in writing to your employer and give them notification or we'll file a claim right away within those thirty days. Because a lot of times what happens is, it's many days later, or maybe someone doesn't come see us for six months and they didn't think it was going to be a big deal and I thought my employer would stand by me, and then, six months later they don't. So you got to notify your employer within thirty days of the incident, and we tell people notify them right away even if you don't think it's going to be a big deal. Just tell them, and you can get something preferably in paper
And the document that we typically see is called the "First Report of Injury." We use that on a regular basis to give to clients and so on, and it's a documentary we receive. Does that have to be done? Do you have to use that "First Report of Injury"?
No. It's not a requirement, but it should be filled out. Preferably your employer, as soon as you inform them of an injury, should fill out a D.W.C. 1, a note for "First Report of Injury", and then they should send them off to their insurance carrier. That's why they have that coverage, to protect themselves and you from an injury.
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