When you or a family member is injured on the job, it can be a scary and confusing experience. You can increase your chances of receiving full and fair workers' compensation benefits if you are prepared beforehand. There are five (5) things you should do immediately to ensure your rights are protected:
- Report the injury
There are no points awarded for being a tough guy. It is important that you report a New Jersey work injury as soon as it happens to ensure a record is on file. You will be glad you did later if the insurance company challenges your claim.
- Ask to see a doctor
When you are injured on the job your employer must pay for all of your medical care. There are no deductibles or copayments. However, the employer (or its insurance company) get to pick your doctors. Ask for a referral to a doctor. If they give you a referral, make sure you attend the appointment and make sure you give the doctor all of your complaints. If they do not give you a referral keep a diary of who at the company you spoke to and where and when the conversation occurred. Remember, when you are injured your primary job should be to get better. You will need to be healthy again so you can continue to work in the future and continue to support yourself and your family.
- Follow doctor's orders
It is imperative that you show up for all your follow-up appointments. You should also carefully follow the doctor's instructions. If you do not do this, the insurance company may terminate all of your benefits. However, you may not think that you are being sent for the right doctor, either because he is in the wrong area of medicine or because he is just not giving you good care. This can be a major problem. If you believe this is happening to you, then you must take immediate steps to correct this problem.
- Don't give any written or audiotaped statements
When you first report the injury you may be asked to complete and sign a First Report of Accident. You should help complete that form. But after that you should not give the insurance company any written or audiotaped statements without first consulting an attorney. The insurance company will know the law better than you and they will know how to couch their questions in a way that is bad for you. These statements can be used against you at a later time.
- Hire a lawyer
The best time to hire an experienced New Jersey workers' compensation attorney is immediately after your accident or immediately after you believe you have a work related exposure. He can make sure you understand your rights and help you through this difficult process. If there is a problem with your medical care or with your pay for lost time from work he can deal with the insurance company and, if necessary, seek an Order from the Court. He can make sure the insurance company does not take advantage of you. He can also maximize the payment you receive at the end of your case so that you and your family are taken care of.
To learn more about your legal rights in these cases, call New Jersey workers compensation lawyer Manfred F. Ricciardelli, Jr. today at (973) 285-1100 or fill out the form on this page. Your initial consultation is always free!