When it comes to reporting a workplace injury, it is not as simple as just telling your side of the story and collecting a check.
Employers and insurance companies alike have been known to pull some questionable tactics to avoid having to file or pay out on a workers compensation claim.
While this makes it seem as though you’re fighting a losing battle, there is one thing you can do to strengthen your side of the case. All it takes is leaving a sufficient paper trail that fully documents the details surrounding your workplace injury.
Why Is a Paper Trail Necessary?
You may have heard people talk about workers compensation as if it’s a subsidized program, but it’s actually an insurance policy.
Workers comp insurance provides coverage for injured employees who do not have the right to sue their employers over a work injury, because the Florida Workers Compensation Law does not permit this. This is intended to provide swift provision of lost wages and medical care.
Like any insurance claim, workers comp cases involve a variety of people and a plethora of paperwork. Proper documentation makes it harder for insurance companies to deny your claim and easier to uphold your position in court if disputes arise.
I’ve seen insurance companies offer very small settlement amounts, drag out the process, and even deny claims entirely. In the event any of these situations happens to you, leaving a paper trail will give your workers comp attorney ammunition they can use on your behalf.
How to Leave a Paper Trail When Reporting Your Workplace Injury
Written documentation is your key to receiving the care and compensation you deserve. Unfortunately, your word alone is not enough, and you will need to show documented proof of your injury as well as the details around it.
So, when it comes to leaving a paper trail, the more documentation you have, the better. There are six main forms of documentation that you can use depending on your situation.
1. Photographs and Videos of the Scene
Whether you were in a car accident or some other form of workplace injury, taking pictures and even videos of the scene and your injuries will be beneficial to your case.
If you were in a car accident, for example, then it is important to not only take pictures of all the damage and any injuries you may have sustained, but also the license plate of the other car(s) involved in the accident. This will provide proof of what happened and who was involved.
2. A Police Report
Not every workplace injury requires police assistance, of course. But if there is a police report, make sure you have a copy of it for your records.
Whenever possible, keep a written record of any communications between you, your employer, and/or the insurance company regarding your claim.
4. Medical Records
You should keep all your medical records, including any bills, doctor’s notes, treatment plans, etc. so as to have comprehensive proof of your injuries and the resulting effects and costs involved.
This is one of the biggest factors that go into determining a settlement amount, so it is very helpful to have.
5. Witness Statements
If there were any witnesses to the incident, get their contact information and write down what they saw. Their contact information can then allow others, like the insurance agency, to follow up on your claims.
6. Personal Notes
Lastly, while your own personal notes on what happened may not have a lot of weight alone, they can give you immense value when it comes to recalling what happened in detail as well as documenting any pain you experienced after the injury.
Get a Workers Comp Attorney
All in all, though receiving workers compensation after your injury may seem like a straightforward process, this isn’t always the case.
Unfortunately, you never know if your workers comp case is turning into a fight. That is why it is critical to leave a paper trail so that you have proof of what happened as well as any medical bills that followed.
Unfortunately, many don’t receive the full benefits they are owed because of how complex the workers compensation process can be. On top of that, your employer, the insurance company, and even your doctor are not going to be concerned about representing your legal interests.
That is why it is always best to at least consult with a professional in the field. Workers compensation attorneys are experienced in getting injured employees their deserved payment in full instead of just a fraction of it or nothing at all.
The Law Office of Brian D. Tadros specializes in workers compensation cases and has over 17 years of experience helping Florida workers from around the state with their compensation cases.
So, if you experienced a workplace injury and are looking for guidance, contact us for a free consultation.