If you’ve been injured on the job in New York, workers’ compensation provides vital benefits to help you access medical treatment and replace lost wages. However, to protect your rights following a workplace injury, it’s essential to avoid common mistakes that can delay or jeopardize your claim.
By learning what not to do, you can navigate the complex workers’ comp system with confidence. Consider us your guide. In this article, we’ll highlight pitfalls and missteps to avoid after a workplace injury.
1. Failing to Report Your Injury Properly
It’s essential to notify your employer of any work-related injury within 30 days. Reporting promptly not only starts the clock on your wage replacement benefits but it also documents that the injury occurred on the job.
Waiting longer than 30 days to report could make your claim look suspicious. The insurance company may accuse you of sustaining the injury off the clock or exaggerating your symptoms. Delays can also make it harder to connect the accident to your employment.
Sometimes occupational illnesses or repetitive stress injuries have gradual onsets, making it tricky to pinpoint an exact date. In these cases, you have 30 days from the date you discover the condition to report it. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back from filing.
2. Not Following Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan
The opinion of your authorized workers’ comp physician carries a lot of weight. Failing to attend recommended appointments or physical therapy may imply you’ve recovered or are not taking your injury seriously.
In some cases, an insurance adjuster may even cut off your benefits for noncompliance. Don’t give them any excuse to deny the treatment you need. Communicate openly with your doctor and follow their recovery instructions to the letter.
3. Returning to Work Too Soon
Eager employers may encourage you to return as soon as you feel “able” after an injury. But only your doctor can determine when you’re ready for full-duty work. Pushing yourself before you’ve completely healed could reinjure you or slow your recovery.
Stick to the restrictions outlined by your physician, even if you feel up to more. Ease back into working, starting with less demanding light or modified duties. Get written clearance before exceeding your doctor’s recommended limitations.
4. Exaggerating Your Injuries
Dishonesty regarding your condition or work status is grounds for serious penalties. Insurance companies investigate claims, looking for evidence of fraud. Even small inconsistencies could put your benefits at risk.
Be upfront about your medical history and transparent with doctors about your symptoms. Don’t embellish or exaggerate the extent of your impairment. The truth is on your side.
5. Quitting Your Job Abruptly
You may feel overwhelmed dealing with a work injury while employed. However, resigning without exploring accommodations could disqualify you from future benefits.
Consider requesting light duty or a modified schedule to ease back into working. Get any changes approved as part of your workers’ comp claim.
If your employer refuses accommodations or makes unreasonable demands, consult a workers’ comp attorney before quitting. There are legal strategies for handling these scenarios while protecting your rights.
6. Not Hiring an Experienced Attorney
Maneuvering New York’s complex workers’ comp system alone can be challenging. Insurance carriers have teams of adjusters looking to minimize costs. Without knowledgeable legal guidance, injured workers often leave compensation on the table.
Partnering with a law firm levels the playing field. Seasoned attorneys understand how to maximize your settlement and will aggressively fight to protect your interests. Let an expert handle the insurance negotiations so you can focus on your recovery.
7. Failing to Understand Your Legal Options
Limited awareness of the workers’ comp process leaves many injured New Yorkers struggling to access their rightful benefits. Uninformed decisions based on misconceptions can have lasting financial consequences.
Get educated on your legal rights and the steps for obtaining compensation. An attorney experienced in New York workers’ comp law can answer your questions and explain how the system works. Knowing what to expect reduces stress and helps avoid critical mistakes.
8. Not Appealing Denials or Low Settlements
Don’t assume an insurance company’s decision is final. Their first offer usually undervalues a claim. Challenging an unfair settlement or benefits denial is your legal right.
With an attorney’s help, you can appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Board for a more favorable ruling. This administrative process is designed to be accessible without needing to go to court. Don’t leave money on the table – fight for maximum compensation.
9. Failing to Document Everything
Keep detailed records related to your injury, including medical paperwork, employment documents, and any correspondence with insurers. Photos or videos of accident scenes can also help prove your case.
Thorough documentation makes it easier for your attorney to demonstrate the merits of your claim. Don’t rely on employers or insurers to maintain files that benefit you. Save everything to protect yourself.
10. Making Social Media Mistakes
Anything you post online can potentially affect your workers’ comp case. Pictures of you engaged in physical activities could undermine claims of disability. Even complaints about work can raise red flags.
Avoid posting about your injury or job altogether while receiving benefits. Adjusters scour social media, looking for evidence to deny claims. Don’t hand them any ammunition to use against you.
11. Accepting a Settlement Too Quickly
Insurance companies may pressure you to accept an early settlement before the full extent of your injuries and lost income are known. But once a claim is settled, you forfeit rights to any future compensation.
Talk to a lawyer before signing any binding agreements. An experienced attorney can advise you on the full value of your claim and negotiate a complete settlement that covers future medical costs and impairment. Don’t leave money on the table by settling too hastily.
Protect Your Worker’s Compensation Claim
Avoiding these common mistakes will put you on the strongest footing following an accident. But you don’t need to navigate the process alone. Partnering with an experienced attorney provides guidance for each step and protects your rights.
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury anywhere in New York, contact O’Connor Law for a free consultation. For years, they’ve helped injured workers get the medical care, lost wages, and justice they deserve. Reach out today at https://www.nyworkerslaw.com/ to avoid missteps and maximize the benefits you’re entitled to.