While workplace injuries and illnesses are typically covered by workers’ compensation, it doesn’t mean that filing a claim will result in an immediate payout of benefits.
If you suffer a workplace injury, there are a few key steps to take:
- Call 911 for help if you’re unable to transport yourself to a local hospital
- Report the incident to your employer
- Follow the treatment plan suggested by your medical team
Even if you do these things, you could still find yourself face-to-face with a workers’ compensation denial letter. Here are some of the many mistakes that can result in receiving this frustrating news:
- Neglecting to report the injury in a timely manner: The best way to protect against this is to report the injury to your direct supervisor and HR department as soon as possible, ideally shortly after the incident.
- Neglecting to file a claim in time: Within 21 days of reporting the injury to your employer, you’re also required to file a First Report of Injury form with the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation.
- Neglecting to receive medical treatment: You should do this because you want to stabilize your injury and put yourself on the road to recovery. However, it’s also important from a workers’ compensation perspective, as you must obtain treatment to receive benefits.
Even if you avoid these mistakes, you could still receive a workers’ compensation denial letter. For example, this is often related to an employer who argues you were not injured on the job.
If your employer disputes your claim, you’ll need to gather evidence to back up your side of the story. For instance, if a coworker was there when you suffered your injury, their statement will work in your favor.
A workers’ compensation denial isn’t the end of the road, as you’re able to file an appeal with the hope of having the original decision overturned. In some cases, this is simple. Conversely, there are situations in which you may eventually find yourself in front of an administrative law judge.
As you take steps to avoid workers’ compensation claim mistakes, do whatever you can to protect your legal rights in New Jersey. As an employee, you probably have the right to receive workers’ compensation after a workplace injury or illness. Don’t hesitate to take advantage.