Did you sustain an injury at your workplace? If so, you may have filed a workers’ compensation claim for financial assistance while you’re out of work. After you file, it’s important to understand how to check the status of your workers’ compensation claim, so you know if and when you can expect your workers’ compensation benefits to begin.
Each state has a different workers’ compensation system and methods for checking on the status of a claim. However, if you need help checking the status of your claim or if your initial claim gets denied, an attorney can assist you. The goal of a workers’ compensation attorney is to ensure that you get the benefits you need and deserve.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a program that provides employees who sustain injuries at work or develop an occupational disease with the following benefits:
- Wage replacement: You could recoup the income you’ve lost while out of work through workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney can calculate the value of that loss and then fight for you to receive fair compensation through a workers’ compensation claim. Your attorney can also include the future income you might lose because of your work-related injuries.
- Medical treatment: Depending on the severity of the injuries you sustained, you could require extensive medical treatment. Through workers’ compensation benefits, you could receive financial benefits to cover medical costs such as emergency room care, diagnostic tests, hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, and doctor visits.
- Vocational rehabilitation: The goal of vocational rehabilitation is to help injured employees get back to work as soon as possible. Some are able to return to their former job or get a different job with similar pay while others cannot, depending on what restrictions a physician imposes on the injured worker.
Workers’ compensation offers other benefits based on the circumstances and needs of the employee in question. Federal and state employees are eligible for these benefits.
Any injured worker can seek assistance from a workers’ compensation attorney to help them file their claim. Experienced attorneys know what type of documentation and evidence to include in the claim to help it get approved, so their clients can get the benefits they need while they’re out of work.
How Can I Check the Status of My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Once you submit a workers’ compensation claim, it is out of the hands of your employer. Typically, their insurance company handles all workers’ compensation claims, and you can check the status through them. However, it’s important to remember that the insurance company does not work for the injured employee their goal is to pay out the lowest amount of money possible.
Therefore, it can be beneficial to have an attorney by your side throughout the workers’ compensation claim process. Your attorney can check the status of your claim and help ensure that the insurance company makes a decision in a timely manner. In addition, your attorney can handle all communication between you and the insurance company.
When you hire an attorney to handle these communications for you:
- Workers’ compensation insurance companies typically take communications more seriously when they come from an attorney.
- A workers’ compensation attorney can ensure that your claim gets filed accurately and contains the necessary evidence.
- Having an attorney speak with the insurance company helps you avoid saying anything that could hurt your chances of getting your workers’ compensation claim approved.
Anytime you need a status update on your workers’ compensation claim, you can ask your attorney to contact the insurance company. They often have different avenues of checking the claim to see if there are any changes or updates.
Using Your State’s Resources for Workers’ Comp Claims Status
Each state has its own department and processes for filing and checking workers’ compensation claims. However, most employers will handle filing the initial claim. When checking on the claim, you may need to go through your employer for a status update.
If they are not cooperative, you may need to go through the appropriate department in your state. For example, South Carolina workers’ compensation claims go through the Workers’ Compensation Commission, and much of the paperwork is mailed or emailed in. Your state may have an online portal, or you may have to call, email, or visit an office to check on the status of your claims.
A lawyer can help you by handling reaching out to your employer or your state workers’ compensation department.
How Will I Know When My Workers’ Compensation Claim Gets Approved?
Waiting to hear if your workers’ compensation claim is approved can be a long and daunting process—especially as bills and expenses continue to mount. You can try asking your employer or reaching out to your state worker’s compensation department.
Another way to find out if your claim got approved is by mail. Typically, you should receive this letter a few weeks after you file the claim. You can also try to call the workers’ compensation insurance company directly to determine if your claim was approved.
While there are several avenues to find out for yourself if your claim got approved, generally a workers’ compensation attorney can find out faster. And because they check for updates so often, if your claim gets denied, they will know soon after the insurance company makes the decision. The sooner your attorney knows about a denial, the sooner they can start preparing your appeal.
Steps to Take if Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Gets Denied
If the workers’ compensation insurance company denied your claim, you could still have a chance at getting benefits. First, it’s important to understand why they denied your claim. Perhaps they denied it because of a simple mistake. You should speak to a workers’ compensation attorney right away if that’s the case. Your attorney can try to clear the mistake quickly, so you can get the benefits you need faster.
If the workers’ compensation insurance company denies your claim for another reason, you can file an appeal. To file an appeal, you must adhere to all deadlines. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney during the appeals process can help you avoid missed deadlines and costly mistakes.
Your attorney can review why your claim got denied and then build a solid case by:
- Investigating the accident: By conducting their own investigation, your attorney can confirm how the accident happened and prove that you sustained your injuries while on the job.
- Proving the extent of your injuries: To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must prove that your injuries prevent you from working. Your attorney can speak to medical professionals and get the necessary documentation to prove that you can no longer work in the same capacity.
- Filing the appeal: If an appeal is necessary, a workers’ compensation attorney can take the necessary steps to file it. The evidence collected during their accident investigation and the medical documentation proving the injuries occurred at work both get included in the appeal.
If your initial workers’ compensation claim gets denied, an attorney can give you the best chance at a successful appeal. Accepting a denial of benefits without seeking legal advice can impact your financial stability significantly, especially if you cannot return to work for a while. Meeting with a workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your legal options can help you avoid financial ruin.
Common Reasons Why Workers’ Compensation Claims Get Denied
Workers’ compensation claims can get denied for various reasons. As mentioned above, sometimes it’s because of a simple mistake. Other times, the insurance company could have a valid reason. But regardless of why they denied the claim, the claimant has the opportunity to file an appeal and provide more evidence as to why they deserve workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation claims get denied because:
- The claimant missed the deadline: Workers’ compensation claims typically have strict deadlines that all claimants must abide by. For starters, they must inform their employer about the injury immediately. The injured worker must also file the claim in time. If the injured worker misses any deadlines, their compensation claim could be denied.
- The parties dispute whether the injury happened at work: In some cases, the employer could state the worker didn’t hurt themselves while they were at work. If this happens, the injured party should seek the help of a workers’ compensation attorney.
- Workers’ compensation does not cover your condition: Some conditions, typically ones that workers develop over the long term, are not covered. Each state has different guidelines for conditions that workers’ compensation insurance companies must cover. If your condition doesn’t fall within those guidelines, your claim could get denied.
In any case, a workers’ compensation attorney can fight the denial and help you get the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve. Just because you received a denial for your initial claim doesn’t mean you have permanently lost your chance at getting benefits.
Is an Attorney Required for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
No, you aren’t required to hire a workers’ compensation attorney to file a claim but they can help significantly. You could receive more financial benefits if you have an attorney fighting for you and helping you file your claim or appeal.
While many workers’ compensation claims get approved, the injured employee doesn’t always get the maximum compensation. An attorney can help you get the best deal possible.
There are many benefits to hiring a workers’ compensation attorney for your case, including:
- An attorney can stay in contact with your medical providers and complete any necessary paperwork regarding the claim.
- They can represent you through any hearings or depositions related to the claim.
- They can ensure that you receive appropriate medical care during the claims process.
- They can communicate with your employer and provide health updates.
- They can negotiate with the workers’ compensation insurance company to reach a fair settlement agreement.
- An attorney can determine if you qualify for any other types of assistance. For instance, based on your disability, you could qualify for social security benefits.
Without an attorney, you could end up with minimum compensation that is far less than what you deserve. A workers’ compensation attorney can negotiate for you to receive the maximum compensation possible while you’re out of work because of your injuries.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If the initial claim gets approved, receiving workers’ compensation benefits takes a little less than a month. However, it could take longer if there are issues.
If the initial claim gets denied, the claimant will have to go through the appeals process. At that point, a workers’ compensation attorney can help move the process along faster by quickly filing the appeal.
If the appeal gets denied, it can extend the length of time before you receive benefits even further. A workers’ compensation attorney can advocate aggressively for you through settlement negotiations to get the money you need. The more time it takes for the insurance company to agree, the longer you could wait to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Learn More About How an Attorney Can Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
For more information on how to check the status of a workers’ compensation claim, contact a workers’ compensation attorney today. Experienced attorneys who handle many workers’ compensation cases know what steps to take to help clients get the financial assistance they need. They can also frequently check the status of your claim and always keep you updated.
Every workers’ compensation case is unique, so it’s important for an attorney to take the time to understand the details of your situation. Many personal injury law firms offer free consultations so you can learn more about your legal options and move forward with your workers’ compensation claim.