If you are unable to work because of injuries you sustained on the job, it is important that you take appropriate steps to protect your legal rights. You may be entitled to recover your medical expenses and other losses through workers’ compensation, a personal injury claim or both, and you need to make sure you do not do anything that could jeopardize your financial recovery.
How can you protect your rights after an injury on the job? Here are seven tips from the Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers at Jackowiak Law Offices:
1. Report the Accident to Your Employer
In order to protect your workers’ compensation eligibility, you need to notify your employer of your injury within 45 days. However, to avoid giving your employer’s insurance company an extra excuse to deny your claim, you should file a written report as soon as possible.
2. Avoid Discussing the Accident with Anyone Else
Whether you have a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury claim or both, you should avoid discussing the accident with anyone other than your attorney. You do not want your own words to be used against you, and you do not want to force your coworkers and family members to serve as witnesses at trial.
3. Seek Medical Attention Promptly
In Illinois, you have the right to choose the doctor who treats your work-related injury. To protect your health and your claim for compensation, you should see a doctor right away. Be sure to tell your doctor that your injury is work-related, and describe your symptoms as thoroughly as possible so that he or she can provide an accurate diagnosis.
4. Follow Up on Any Referrals and Seek a Second Opinion if Necessary
If your primary care or emergency room doctor refers you to a specialist, that specialist’s care should still be covered under workers’ compensation. If you have reason to doubt your doctor’s diagnosis, do not be afraid to seek a second opinion.
5. Start Collecting Information
The more information you can collect, the better. Write down everything you remember about the accident, keep a daily log of your pain levels, keep track of the days you miss from work, and keep all medical bills and receipts related to your work injury.
6. Make Sure You Don’t Wait Too Long to File
Reporting your injury is not the same thing as filing a workers’ compensation claim. In this way, filing for workers’ compensation is a two-step process. If someone else was at fault in the accident, you have two years to file a claim for personal injury damages.
7. Avoid Settling for Too Little
Whether you are dealing with your employer or a third party’s insurance company, it is important to understand that no one involved in your case is on your side. They will try to get you to accept less than you deserve; and, if you are not careful, you could end up with only a fraction of the money to which you are legally entitled.
Schedule a Free Consultation at Jackowiak Law Offices
For more information about how to protect your rights after a work-related accident, contact Jackowiak Law Offices in Chicago, IL for a free consultation. To speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in confidence, call (312) 795-9595 or submit your case online now.