Are you currently receiving workers compensation benefits? If so, you may feel somewhat relieved especially if it took awhile for you to start receiving compensation. Some people allow their sense of relief to cause them to become too relaxed about their cases. As a result, they may behave in ways that could harm their case or potentially stop their benefits prematurely. The following are examples of actions that could negatively impact your case.
Medical Treatment Considerations
Ensure that you are open to medical treatment suggestions made by your physician. This does not mean that you must follow all of the suggestions made to you, but if you decide not to follow your doctor's suggestions or you are opposed to them, you need to have solid reasons for doing so. For example, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure. A possible solid reason for not going through with the surgery recommendation might be that you have read information about the procedure and learned that it has a low success rate or others have had less than favorable outcomes. Examples of less than favorable outcomes reported might be issues such as decreased sensory function or chronic pain.
Your employer might attempt to offer you a different type of work if your doctor determines that you can perform the duties. For example, you might be offered light-duty work assignments. Failure to accept the work could have negative consequences. This is another situation where you need to have solid reasons for the refusal. People may decline work for a multitude of reasons if they have an ongoing workers compensation case, but if you can perform the work, it is ill-advised to refuse it because you could lose your benefits.
You could also void your workers compensation benefits by attempting to go work for another employer if you are receiving workers compensation benefits. This is applicable even if the new job requires little or no manual dexterity. Accepting any type of work while drawing benefits could result in you having to pay back benefits or having your benefits case closed and denied.
Delayed Reporting of Injuries and Claims
Each state has its own regulations regarding the timeframe that people have to file workers compensation claims. This is different from reporting injuries. You may have several months to actually file a claim, but injuries need to be reported within 30 days at a minimum. Reporting them as soon as you become aware of them is the best "rule of thumb."
A workers compensation attorney (such as one from Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP) is the best resource to use for an existing or potential workers compensation case. Even if you have made some decisions or taken actions that your fear may hinder your case, it is possible that they may be able to represent you.