There are many tasks to take care of when preparing for a workman’s compensation case. It can be fairly easy to forget about one and not have everything you need to win your case. That’s why we have created this list to help you remember most of the paperwork and documentation that you will want to collect while organizing evidence your case.
The day your injury occurs, you will want to start documenting your injury. First, explain what type of injury you experienced, how it happened, where it happened, and when it happened. You may want to remember what witnesses are around as well in case you need them as witnesses. Another good idea is to take photos of the injury if possible, especially if the injury will not show up in x-rays.
You may also want to explain in your documentation how your injury has been affecting your life. In New Jersey, workman’s compensation can give you compensation if your injury affects your daily life and not just your work responsibilities. If your work responsibilities have been downgraded you will also want to discuss this aspect as well.
After you receive medical treatment from your doctor, there are a few documents you should obtain from them. You should ask your doctor for a copy of your medical history. This will help prove to the judge that you did not just irritate an earlier injury. If you did irritate an old injury, however, you can share your history with your lawyer so they can help you navigate your case and tell you how to better explain your injury to the judge.
Next, you should collect any documentation involving treatment of your injury, such as x-rays, your doctor’s diagnosis, or test results. Not all injuries can be seen by just looking at a person so having information about your injury from a trained professional is the next best evidence.
In New Jersey, the employer gets to choose the initial doctor for the employee to see. Therefore, you should collect information from both the employer’s doctor and your personal doctor. This way you can compare the information and keep your attorney informed. The more information your lawyer has, the better the chance they will have of winning your case.
You will also want to save the medical bills from both doctors so that if you win your case, the judge can decide who has to pay for each exam and treatment. Your employer may not have to pay your entire bill. If your work injury relates to a past injury in your medical history, your employer may only have to pay a portion of the bill because the original injury may not have been their fault.
After you are injured, you will want to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. In New Jersey, an employee has 90 days to report an injury. If you do not report your injury by this deadline, the employer may deny you compensation. It may seem like an obvious first step after you are injured, but if the injury is minor and does not affect a person right away, some employees decide to wait and see if their condition worsens before reporting their injury.
Usually after you report and injury, your employer will give you a workman’s compensation form to fill out. This form can usually be obtained from the human resources department, your supervisor, or a designated workers’ compensation advocate. You will want to save a copy of this form in case you need it later. If your employer is refusing to provide medical services and/or temporary disability benefits you can use Workman’s Compensation for New Jersey to find a lawyer who can help. Just fill out the form on the home page and they will match you with a lawyer.
Once you are matched with a lawyer you should show them all of the documentation you have collected. They will help lead you in steps to take to after you have been denied compensation from your employer. They will likely file a formal claim petition for you or have you apply for an informal hearing before a Judge of Compensation. Be sure to save copies of any paperwork you fill out from this point on and continue to document your injury and experience. Having good evidence and documentation is the one of the best ways to protect yourself and help you win your case.