If you are ever injured while performing work-related activities, a different set of legal criteria, rules and laws apply than in other personal injury situations. These are generally in accordance with Workersí Compensation guidelines, which are constantly being re-regulated and changed. While you may think you know the rules regarding workersí compensation, itís highly likely that everything you know has already changed.
Itís part of our job to stay on top of all these changes so that we can protect your rights and win your case. Thatís why we have provided the following list of Doís and Doníts to help you make sound decisions in case you are ever injured on the job. And remember, if you are injured you can always rely on The Glenn Armentor Law Corporation Ė where a fair settlement is no accident.
What To Do In Case Of A Workplace or Workersí Compensation Accident:
1. Immediately after the accident, do not try to move if you are hurt.
-Call for help to get up and for assistance. Insist on an ambulance and immediate medical care if the injury causes substantial pain or appears serious.
2. Identify witnesses to the accident (names, addresses and phone numbers).
3. Report the accident as soon as possible to your supervisor.
-Be sure an accident report is filled out and you get a copy.
-List all your injuries and problems to your supervisor, so they can be placed in the accident report.
4. Seek medical assistance immediately if pain persists, or is serious. (Workers' Compensation benefits include payment of all medical costs resulting from the injury.)
-Avoid being referred to a "Company Doctor" if possible, and try to go to a doctor of your own choice who is familiar with you.
-If you have a head or spinal injury, see an orthopedic or neurological specialist.
-Determine as early as possible if you will have to miss work and for how long.
-Determine what the "long-term prognosis" will be in terms of surgery or disability.
5. Obtain all available information on your employer's workers' compensation insurer.
-Contact them as early as possible, to start benefits if you will be out of work for more than one week.
6. If you are unable to work after seven (7) days, request (in writing) that workers' compensation benefits be started as of the eighth day.
7. File a Claim Form LDOL-WC-1008 "Claim for Compensation" on the eighth day after the accident, if benefits have not begun.
-Send copies of all medical bills, accident reports, medical reports or other documents you may have on the accident with your Form 1008, to Office of Workers' Compensation Administration, P.O. Box 94040, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9040.
-If you have questions on how to fill out the forms, or anything else, you may call: 1-225-342-7555; or Toll Free: 1-800-824-4592.
8. If the compensation insurance will not begin making payments on your medical bills and weekly benefits of two-thirds (2/3) of your gross weekly wage, you should consult an attorney immediately.
-Be sure the attorney is a personal injury specialist. Ask him about his experience!
-Write down all questions you may have about your work accident and compensation laws prior to interview.
-Learn all you can about your rights under workers' compensation laws.
-Ask what fees and expenses you will be required to pay.
-Ask what the attorney feels he can do to help you and how he evaluates your chances.
-Don't hesitate to interview several attorneys and compare their responses.
9. Obtain the following documentation for your own file:
-Copies of all medical bills caused by the accident, paid and unpaid.
-A list of which bills have been paid and which have not been paid.
-List of mileage to and from all health care visits (to be reimbursed to you at 21Ę per mile).
-Copies of all doctors' narrative reports from treating physicians.
-Copies of all admit and emergency room charts at all hospitals which have treated you.
-Copies of all radiology reports on tests given to you, such as x-rays, CT Scans, Bone Scan, MRI or Myelogram.
-Copies of any statements given by you to your employer or the insurance company.
-Copies of any witness statements obtained from anyone on how the accident occurred.
-Copies of your wage records (or check stubs) from the last four (4) full weeks you worked prior to the accident.
-Copies of any correspondence between the insurance company and the Workers' Compensation Commission.
-An explanation from the insurance company on how it arrived at your workers' compensation rate and what it believes to be your average weekly gross wage.
10. Be sure you are being paid two-thirds (2/3) of your average weekly wage before any deduction (gross wage).
11. Never sign any releases until you are fully prepared to settle your case.
-If you do so, your medical condition should have completely stabilized and you should have reached maximum medical improvement.
12. Keep a written daily diary of the aftermath of the accident.
-List all that happened in the accident and initial medical examinations.
-Follow your progress and the problems caused in everyday life by your injuries.
(This will prove invaluable at your trial, which may be much later.)
13. Don't discuss your case with any unnecessary parties.
-Your spouse, your doctor and your attorney are the only necessary parties.
Insurance adjusters or anyone else who want a recorded statement are not necessary and you should not give such a statement to anyone.
What Not To Do In Case Of A Workplace or Workers' Compensation Accident:
1. Donít be talked into not reporting the accident (not even to preserve "safety records").
2. Donít give recorded statements to unnecessary parties.
3. Donít sign releases or checks with release language printed on them.
4. Donít settle your case unless you have medically stabilized.
5. Donít settle your case unless you have spoken to an attorney and have had your questions answered and your rights explained to you.
6. Donít discuss any aspects of your case with unnecessary persons.
7. Donít do anything just because they say you "have toĒ.