Plenty of people may make simple mistakes that can hurt their workers’ compensation claim. Most are not familiar with the legal system or workers’ compensation, so they often do not fully understand their rights, eligibility for benefits, how much they may be owed, how to file, or what to do if their claim is denied. At any point in the process, a small mistake can carry big consequences.
John D. Ray is the owner and operator of The Ray Firm, LLC and has practiced law for over 21 years specializing in workers’ compensation. John previously served as a mediator for the Office of Workers ’ Compensation Court (“OWC”) and as an Assistant Attorney General for the Louisiana Department of Justice. In addition, John served as Section Chief of the Workers’ Compensation Section of Louisiana Department of Justice’s Litigation Division. John has also worked in the private sector for a defense firm in New Orleans. To say the least, John has seen it all.
Ways to protect yourself and avoid some common pitfalls
The best way for you to protect your rights under the workers’ compensation system is to have proper legal counsel. The Ray Firm represents all types of injured workers and gets them the compensation they deserve. According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission (“LWC”), both mental and physical injuries are covered by law as long as they are the result of stress or accidents at work. The law also covers occupational diseases like lung cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos.
Don’t wait to tell someone you were injured
Failing to report an injury in a timely manner will almost always be used against the injured worker. Louisiana’s statute of limitations only allows for one year from the date of the injury for a claim to be filed. TIP: Avoid issues by immediately reporting any injuries in writing, with as many witnesses as possible. Documenting the details of your accident is crucial. As more time passes after the accident, the more difficult it is to remember the exact details. It is important to remember what you were doing before the accident, at the time of the accident, and immediately after it occurred. If there were any witnesses, make sure to note their names and contact information. You should note any conversation and action that took place before, during and after the accident. All this information is vital for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Don’t brush it off or try to tough it out
Getting immediate medical treatment is the core of a workers’ compensation claim. Generally, insurance companies assume that if you didn’t seek medical attention immediately, you weren’t that hurt. In the case of emergency, ask your colleagues to take you to the emergency room or a walk-in clinic. In quite a few cases, instead of getting better your injuries may get worse. Make sure you don’t miss any follow-up appointments. If possible, collect copies of every medical record including bills, prescriptions, MRI scans, test reports, X-rays and CT scans. Plus, you should maintain a record of all costs related to your injuries including lost wages, medical bills, and special services.
Is it too late?
Even if a claim has been denied or you think it may be too late, it is important to speak to a lawyer to help you build a stronger case. The Ray Firm can evaluate your case and help you understand the type of benefit you’re entitled to receive. Visit rayfirm.net to learn more or call 225.960.4449 to schedule a free consultation.