In Wisconsin this year, workers’ compensation claims were denied about twice as often as they were approved. Though often the result of small errors, these denials can cause significant hardship both physically and financially. Injured workers need medical care to help them recover as fully as possible and wage replacement benefits to ensure their family’s continued stability. With so much at stake, it is important to take care with a claim. Here, we share the top five mistakes to avoid to protect your claim.
Top 5 Mistakes Injured Wisconsin Workers Need to Avoid
Despite their best efforts, injured workers often make errors in seeking workers’ compensation benefits. Whether due to misinformation, inexperience, or good-old-fashioned mistakes, legitimate claims get denied and workers are left facing a difficult road with little support. We share this helpful information to avoid these most common mistakes:
- Failing to report the injury. In Wisconsin, workers are encouraged to give notice to an employer within 30 days of the date the injury occurred or within 30 days when the worker finds out about an occupational disease. While it is possible to obtain benefits for reports filed after 30 days, it weakens the credibility of the claim. It is best to report the injury to an employer in writing as soon as is possible.
- Failing to seek medical care or not following the doctor’s recommendations. Workers’ compensation is based on the notion that a person was injured because of employment conditions. If no medical care is sought, it may appear as if no injury exists. Similarly, failing to follow through with the recommendations of a provider can make it seem as if the injury is not severe enough to warrant benefits.
- Talking to an insurance company representative. Regardless of what they may tell you, insurance company representatives are out to protect their company’s own interests. They will call and try to learn information about you that they can later use against you to deny or reduce benefits. Avoid speaking to them without consulting a lawyer, and if you must, stick to the most basic details of your injury. Do not comment on your diagnosis or prognosis.
- Agreeing to a quick settlement. Similarly, insurance companies want to save as much money as they can on every claim. At times, they will offer a quick, but unfair settlement. While it can be tempting to accept, injured workers should know all their rights and find out about all the compensation to which they may be entitled before agreeing to any settlement offer. These offers are final once signed; it is not typically possible to go back and modify an agreement to get more compensation later.
- Not consulting with an experienced attorney. While many injured workers are understandably concerned with the costs of hiring an attorney, experienced legal representation can make a significant difference in your case. Attorneys understand the system, are familiar with the laws and workers’ rights and have experience negotiating with insurance companies.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury or illness at work in Wisconsin, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Take care to avoid these common mistakes to protect your case. Even if you are not sure of your rights or worry you have already made an error, contact the experienced legal team at Wagner Law, LLC. We can answer your questions and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at our office in Menomonie or Eau Claire.