If you are suffering from a permanent workplace injury, it pays to be organized. Settlements from the workers' compensation carrier can vary greatly depending on how well you can show your damages. Read on to learn how to keep the records that will win you the most money after a work injury.
Understanding Workers' Comp Settlements
For hurt workers, a settlement may come after several weeks of being paid a partial salary by the workers' compensation insurer. When an injury is determined to be at maximum medical improvement, the insurer will make the employee an offer. These offers are based on several factors, such as the former salary of the worker, their age, and the severity of their injury.
What Workers Need to Show
You should not expect to be offered what you deserve by the insurer, at least not at first. Many insurers try to make low offers in the hope that workers will take them. However, agreeing to a settlement when you are no longer able to work is a big deal. You must get paid enough to take care of a missing salary for the rest of your working life until you are eligible for retirement pay.
Many workers are shocked at how low offers can be. To ensure you are paid what you need, take these steps:
- Speak to a workers' compensation lawyer about your case. They can help you form a case for a higher settlement and gather proof of your losses.
- Keep a journal of everything. If you haven't been doing so, it's never too late to begin. Go back through your paperwork and record what you can remember about the accident and what happened after that. Continue to use this journal until your case is over and you have a good settlement. Record incidents of pain and discomfort, sadness about things you can no longer do, how you feel about being permanently disabled, and more.
- Keep good records of your medical treatment. Keep them in a safe place protected from theft, water, and natural disasters. Make a backup copy and save it to the cloud.
- Keep records of everything you do to alleviate your injury. To be paid, you must show that you followed your doctor's orders and did what you could to make things better. If you tried a certain therapy or medication, note that. If you had surgery as ordered by your doctor, write about that. Be as detailed as possible with your entries. Use proper medical terms when possible and note exact dosages, times, and dates.
- Keep records of all out-of-pocket expenses so that you can be reimbursed.
Your settlement must be adequate. Speak to a work-related injury attorney to find out more.