What Not to Do While on Workers’ Comp: 7 Major Mistakes

June 7, 2023by Jan Reburiano

Whether you are accepted for benefits or appealing your rejected claim, it is important to know what not to do while on workers’ comp. Insurance adjusters have every incentive to revoke your benefits to protect their profits. They will survey your actions to determine your eligibility and revoke it when they feel it is necessary.

To protect your workers’ comp settlement, you need legal representation. This guide is only an overview of what not to do while on workers’ comp. For direct legal assistance, hire a workers’ comp attorney who will protect you from these mistakes while maximizing your settlement.

Below are the 7 most common mistakes you may encounter while on workers’ comp. If you need further help, call our network to get in touch with a workers’ comp lawyer in your area. LegalASAP is connected with 500+ law firms around the United States. With us, you’ll find a lawyer who can help you with your case.

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1. Failing to Report Your Work Injuries to Your Employer

To even be qualified for workers’ comp benefits, you need to report your work injury to your employer. Each state has different deadlines to report your injury, but it is key to notify your employer as soon as possible to avoid delays in your medical care.

Many states like Iowa require you to submit a First Report of Injury or Illness Form (DWC-1) for the Department of Labor to analyze your claim. Submit this form along with your report as soon as possible and wait for approval.

2. Downplaying Your Injuries to Your Doctor

You may feel inclined to downplay your injuries after a workplace accident. Mental stress may affect how you perceive the severity of your claim. Despite how difficult it may be, recall the details of your accident as honestly as possible to receive the most support from your workers’ comp claim.

If you exaggerate your injuries to increase your settlement amount, you may be convicted of workers’ compensation fraud. According to the California Department of Insurance, they may convict “Employees [who] exaggerate or even fabricate injuries.” as they see fit.

If you downplay your injuries, your doctor will be missing key details they need to treat you for your condition. If you provide insufficient evidence that your life was affected by an accident, you may receive a smaller settlement amount. You may even be forced back to work if they deem you are able.

Provide accurate medical records of your injury and don’t mince your words when describing your pain as a result of a workplace accident. Give clear, honest evidence of your condition so your settlement matches the damages you suffered from the accident.

3. Missing Medical Appointments

If you are caught routinely missing medical appointments, your workers’ comp benefits may be suspended and your settlement taken away. Missing medical and therapy appointments will signal to insurance companies that you’re not taking recovery seriously.

The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide employees with enough resources to go back to work as soon as possible after a work injury. Routinely missing medical appointments will signify to employers that you are ready for work.

If you need to miss a medical appointment, notify your doctor immediately and reschedule another day. Do not skip an appointment without notification as you will risk losing your benefits.

4. Sticking With Your Insurer’s Doctor

Right after a work accident, insurance companies will present a list of doctors in their network who will handle your injury. In most states, you can choose to switch doctors and remain with the physician who knows your body best.

Read your state’s laws and understand the process of changing doctors before making the switch. Most states require you to submit a predesignation of personal physician form to finalize the process.

Doctors from your insurer may share similar interests with the ones who hire them, offering minimal care to protect their profits. They may discharge you early, claiming you are able to work even when your injury causes you pain.

Physicians issue a disability rating after treatment, grading the severity of your injury and how much aid you need before going back to work. Your insurer’s doctor may issue you a lower rating because they are incentivized by insurance companies to give you a lower settlement.

The best way to ensure proper care for your injury would be to hire your own doctor. They are more familiar with your medical records than anyone else, and they have the incentive to completely heal your injury however they can.

5. Posting on Social Media

After a work injury, you’d want to post on social media to reassure your friends and family about your safety. Sadly, workers’ comp insurers can view your social media activity and use your posts as evidence to deny your claim.

Any post available to the public can be used against you when filing for workers’ comp. That includes:

  • Location posts you’re tagged in
  • Public photos
  • Story posts viewable by the public
  • Messages linked to your profile

Avoid making posts on social media that show insurers that your injury is not as bad as it seems. Communicate with loved ones over the phone or directly message them through text. Let them know you’re applying for workers’ comp and ask them to avoid tagging you in their own posts.

The workers’ comp claims process is long and difficult, but if you maintain your digital footprint, you can protect your settlement from being suspended.

6. Not Following Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan

Insurance companies can disregard your workers’ comp claim if you’re seen ignoring your doctor’s treatment plan. They can view your profiles and even look at surveillance camera footage to disprove your medical status.

If a task is too difficult in your current state, ask for assistance rather than enduring the pain. Take the medicine your doctor prescribes and let them know about changes in your health.

Insurers are less likely to offer a settlement if they see you are healthier than your claim suggests, even if that’s not true. If your physician prescribes you to rest, make sure to rest!

7. Skipping Your Job When Cleared for Light-Duty Work

It may be tempting to quit or refuse work when suffering from the effects of a work injury. Make sure to stay diligent if you’re cleared for light-duty work. File an appeal if you disagree with the decision your insurer made, but don’t skip work without notification.

Maintain light-duty work when cleared because your benefits may be revoked if you choose to skip on your job.

Talk to your employer if they are shifting you for more hours than your body can handle. Let your doctor know if light-duty work is impossible in your current state. They will make adjustments accordingly and will clear you for work when you’re ready.

Getting Your Claim Approved With a Workers’ Comp Attorney

It’s tough to navigate through letters from doctors and insurance companies while recovering from a work injury. A workers’ comp attorney can hasten the process, answering your questions while representing you in your workers’ comp claim.

It’s easy to forget what not to do while on workers’ comp. An attorney can guide you through the process so you won’t fall for these traps in the future. The best part is they work under contingency, meaning you won’t have to pay until your settlement is in the mail.

To see if you qualify for a workers’ comp attorney, click on the button below:

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Jan Reburiano is a content writer and SEO specialist for law firms focusing on personal injury, disability, employment law, among other practices. He has written and edited numerous articles and created commercial spots for broadcasters that you can find in his LinkedIn. Jan currently lives in Los Angeles, California while writing for clients from around the United States.

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