Timing is important in workers' compensation law.
After you have been injured at work, report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. If you have been injured through repeated exposures to something, like loud noises or repetitive motion, report the injury to your employer as soon as you believe the problem was caused by your work.
Promptly reporting your injury can help prevent delays and other problems in getting the medical care and benefits you need. If you wait more than 30 days, you might even lose the right to file a claim.
After you report your injury, fill out a workers' compensation claim form and give it to your supervisor or human resources department. Your employer is required to give you or mail you a claim form almost immediately after learning of your injury. Filling out this form officially opens your case, so that you can begin the process that will give you the benefits you need to pay for medical care.
Workers' compensation insurance can pay benefits for medical care, temporary disability, permanent disability, and in some cases supplemental job displacement costs. Death benefits are available for family members in cases of fatal workplace accidents.
It can also be important to talk to a lawyer promptly after your workplace injury. The insurance companies that pay out workers' compensation benefits don't always act quickly, and the often try to get injured workers to settle for less than they deserve.
A workers' compensation attorney can help you through the paperwork, the second opinions, and the various other tasks you may have to go through just to make your claim. After that, an attorney can advocate for you at hearings and negotiations, and fight to make sure you receive all the benefits you deserve.