Even though it should be, filing and claiming workers’ compensation for an injury you suffered at work is rarely a swift and easy process. While it helps to have an attorney at your side during the process, oftentimes employers and insurance companies look out for their best interests instead of yours, which can complicate your claim. Hopefully your claim goes smoothly, but there are plenty of red flags to look out for that can derail or delay your claim. Here are five red flags people often encounter during their workers’ compensation claim process.
Your employer wants to settle without filing an official claim or they suggest filing a claim will negatively affect your status at work
You are well within your legal rights to seek compensation for an injury suffered at work, so if your company tries to settle it off the books or pressures you not to file a claim, consult with a workers’ compensation attorney right away. It is also illegal for them to threaten to demote or fire you because you filed a claim, so report any such violations to your attorney.
Your employer claims the injury was your fault
Although you may be partially or even fully at fault for your work injury, you are likely still entitled to benefits, so don’t listen to your employer if they suggest that you can’t seek a claim because the injury was your fault. You may not have a valid claim if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, but if it was a simple mistake or oversight on your part, you can still legally seek compensation.
Your employer says you’re not covered by their insurance
Your employer may declare that because you are an intern, a volunteer or an independent contractor that you are not covered under their workers’ compensation plan. Minnesota has special considerations for independent contractors, volunteers and interns, and most times the benefit of the doubt goes to the employee. However, pursuing benefits under these circumstances with reluctance from your employer can be complicated, and you’ll be best suited with a workers’ compensation attorney at your side.
Your employer pressures you to visit a specific physician
Patients are allowed to choose the treating physician for their work comp injury in most cases. There are a few exceptions to this rule that allow an employer to require an employee to visit a specific physician, but those are under rather unique circumstances (question six on this page shows those circumstances). If you don’t meet those criteria and your employer is adamant you visit a certain physician, they likely don’t have your best interests at heart, and you should inform your attorney.
Your benefits don’t come as usual
Red flags don’t go away when you’ve been awarded a workers’ compensation claim. Oftentimes you’ll receive your benefits at the same time each month, so if all of a sudden that check doesn’t show up for a few days, it could be a red flag that something is wrong. You can try to call the insurance company, but odds are you aren’t going to be able to get a straight answer. It may be a sign that the insurance company is attempting to alter your claim payment, and you should talk to an attorney if your payments all of a sudden stop arriving on time.