This may sound a bit cynical, but it is true. You do not know your true value at the workplace until you have been injured at your job. It is not until you attempt to receive workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries that you truly understand how much your injury is worth. Even if you happen to sprain your ankle at the workplace, your employer and their insurance company would rather go to battle than reward you with the benefits that you deserve. This is why collecting the necessary documentation for your injury is important when you have been injured at the workplace.
The benefits of documenting your injury for a workers’ compensation claim
It would be great if all of the players in the Mississippi workers’ compensation process operated fairly and impartially. However, that is rarely the case. You can file your workers’ compensation claim for a legitimate injury, and the insurance company will try to deny or delay your claim every step of the way. This is where documenting your injury comes into play. When you collect documentation that speaks to the validity of your injury, it makes it very difficult for the insurance company to refute your claim. Documenting your injury can stop insurance companies from delaying the workers’ compensation claim process and accusing you of exaggerating your injuries.
Notify your employer of your injury
The first action you want to take – once you have sought medical attention – is to thoroughly document your injury at the workplace and to notify your employer of your accident. Notifying your employer will allow you to get the medical attention that you need for your injury and help you begin the workers’ compensation claim process.
Once you notify your employer, your employer is required by law to inform their insurance company of the workplace accident. If you wait to inform your employer of your workplace injury, it can hurt your claim in the long run. You may not even be able to file a claim for your workplace injury if your employer fails to notify the insurance company within the designated time period.
The primary way to document your injury is through writing. You can notify your employer of your injury by writing a detailed letter of the workplace accident and your resulting injuries or condition. You will also be required to file a workers’ compensation claim and include the necessary documentation. Your workers’ compensation claim is another opportunity for you to include additional documentation that can validate your injury, like witness statements and medical records.
Seek medical care immediately after suffering a work injury
Another way to help gather documentation for your injury is to seek medical attention by a medical provider. A medical professional can add validity to how serious your workplace injury is. Seeking immediate medical attention also reduces the chances for the insurance company to question your injury.
A medical professional can provide medical records of your injury that you can include in your workers’ compensation claim. The medical professional who examines your injury will also be required to submit a form that will be added to your workers’ compensation claim. However, this step can present an issue for you based on whether you can request to seek medical attention from your own healthcare provider.
Choosing a doctor for medical assistance
Your employer’s insurance company may require you to seek medical attention from the company’s chosen medical providers. This requirement may cause you to feel uneasy, and with good reason. The medical professionals chosen by the insurance company are working in the interests of the employer and the insurance company. The insurance company’s chosen medical providers may submit a report that downplays the severity of your injury. The chosen medical providers may submit a report that insinuates that you can return to work at a quicker date than you are not comfortable with.
Fortunately, Mississippi workers are allowed to choose their own physicians for their medical needs. You have the option of choosing between the insurance company’s healthcare provider or your own personal physician. Do not worry if you reject the medical assistance of the insurance company’s physician. You have the right to refuse being seen by a medical provider that you do not trust.
What documents should I include when filing a Mississippi workers’ compensation claim?
To strengthen your workers’ compensation claim, the following documents should be included:
- A healthcare provider’s report
- Your employer’s report of your workplace accident
- Any witness statements from coworkers or other witnesses of the accident
- Photographs of the workplace accident scene
- Video footage of the accident scene
Adding photographs and video evidence of the workplace accident can help add credibility to your claim.
What happens if my workers’ comp claim is denied by the insurance company?
Even when you properly document your injury, the insurance company may still decide to deny your workers’ compensation claim. Insurance companies will actually deny your initial workers’ compensation claim to prevent you from continuing to fight for your compensation. Many workers become discouraged after being denied workers’ compensation benefits. If your initial claim has been denied, you have the right to file an appeal.
To begin your appeal process, you will need to file a Petition to Controvert form, also known as Form B5-11. This form will be filed and submitted with the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission. Once this form has been submitted and approved, you will have the opportunity to explain why your claim should be approved in a hearing. While you can represent yourself in your hearing, you will have a better chance of seeking approval for your claim if you have a workers’ compensation lawyer by your side.
If you have been wrongfully denied workers’ compensation benefits, rely on the lawyers of Merkel & Cocke, P.A. to help you receive the compensation that you deserve. We serve clients in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville, Oxford, Tupelo, and the Gulf Coast. Call us today at 662-627-9641, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel established Merkel & Cocke, P.A. in 1982. Since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke’s practice has progressed toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke was selected Best Lawyer of the year for 2012 and 2014 in The Memphis area in the field of Medical Malpractice and has been selected a Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer every year since 2006. Learn more about John Hartwell Cocke here.