If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you should know that your employer very likely has workers' compensation insurance to cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. Your ability to collect these benefits, however, relies on the timeliness and completeness of the accident report. Once you have reported the accident to your supervisor, your next step should be to ensure that your supervisor fills out the accident report as soon as possible. Your workers' comp claim cannot move forward without an accident report, so read on for more information about how the report could affect your claim.
The Accident Report
Though it varies by state, most accident forms contain areas that must be filled out by both you and your supervisor. In some states you can fill the report out yourself by obtaining it from your state board of workers' compensation online, and provide it to your supervisor to complete and submit. Take care in filling out this form and be sure to include the contact information of any witnesses. Your claim will be submitted to your employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier. If approved, you could be eligible to receive the following benefits:
- A portion of your wages, paid weekly while you recover from your injury (70% is common, but varies by state).
- All medical expenses.
- Vocational rehabilitation to retrain you if you are unable to return to your previous position due to your injuries.
- Lump sum or weekly payments for your lifetime if your condition is deemed to be a permanent injury.
Keep your documents together in one place; an expandable file case works well and allows you more organization than a file folder. In it keep your copy of the accident report, your notes or narrative about the accident, medical receipts, treatments records, lab tests, etc.
Pain and Suffering
Before you agree to accept a workers' compensation settlement, you should understand that by doing so you are giving up your right to bring a personal injury suit upon your employer. You may have noticed a glaring omission under the benefits listed above; workers' compensation contains no provision for pain and suffering. To receive pain and suffering benefits, your only recourse is to file a lawsuit. Consult with an attorney before you accept the settlement; you want to ensure that you are receiving the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to.
If you feel that your employer is not doing enough to compensate you for your injuries, waste no time in contacting a workers' comp or personal injury attorney, such as Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson, P.S.