A serious work-related injury can affect your livelihood. So, you can’t afford to make mistakes when it comes to filing a claim. Here are the 8 most common mistakes made by injured workers in New Jersey:
1. A failure to report an accident or injury: Workers who have been injured on the job, often fail to report the accident. Perhaps because they don’t think their injury is serious, or they think that reporting it will get them in trouble. But, you have an obligation to report any work-related injury you have sustained and you should do so immediately. You have 90 days from the date of the accident to notify your employer or you may be forever barred from pursuing your workers’ compensation case.
2. Failing to file a claim within the applicable statute of limitations: Be aware that there is a statute of limitations that applies to filing a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey. Generally, you have two years from the date of the injury or the last payment of compensation to file a workers’ compensation claim. Miss this deadline and you may be forever barred from pursuing your claim
3. Not seeking medical attention right away: If you are injured on the job, go see the doctor. Obviously, if you don’t see a doctor immediately, questions will be raised as to the severity of the injury you sustained.
4. Missing work without authorization from your doctor: If you have to miss work, you need authorization from your workers’ compensation doctor. You can’t miss work just because you feel that you should. A doctor has to put you off work in order for you to be entitled to receive temporary disability benefits.
5. Skipping doctor appointments: Missing doctor’s appointments may lead the insurance company to believe that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim. If you are hurt, continue to make your doctor appointments until you get better. If you are having a problem making your appointments for any valid reason, notify your employer and the insurance company.
6. Failure to understand what you are entitled to under New Jersey workers’ compensation law: Whether you are getting the run around from the insurance company or doctor, or you are looking at a check for weekly benefits that seems much too small, you should remember one important thing––never take the insurance company’s word for it when it comes to figuring out what you are entitled to under the New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system.
You need to personally understand the benefits you’re entitled to receive. If you do not understand what benefits you are entitled to, hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you through it. But, under no circumstances should you blindly accept whatever the insurance company says.
In fact, you should always double check how they calculated your benefits and question the doctor if you feel that you are being released back to work too soon. Most of all, you should always get a second option on any impairment rating that you receive after a permanent injury.
7. Settling of a workers’ compensation claim too early: For a small claim, an early settlement can be a fair way to resolve the case. However, if you have sustained any substantial disability, an early settlement offer is likely to be much lower than what you might otherwise obtain if you and your attorney take the time to properly document and work up the case. An attorney familiar with New Jersey workers’ compensation law can help you get the most for your workers’ compensation claim.
8. Not hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to assist you with your claim: Workers’ compensation law is complicated, and in many cases, you will need to retain the services of an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney in order to receive the benefits you’re entitled to. If you have been injured on the job, don’t go it alone. Hire a workers’ compensation attorney to help you maximize your benefits.