When it comes to filing a workers comp claim, a Jackson workers comp lawyer knows that clerical errors represent the most common reason for denial. Forgetting to file a form or filling it in incorrectly are valid grounds for getting your benefits denied.
In order to help workers avoid any such mistakes, we decided to prepare a detailed guide containing all the steps you must take in this process. Each of them is mandatory and must be done in the following order:
1. Notify Your Employer that You Suffered a Workplace Injury
Your first obligation after a workplace accident is to notify your employer. Mississippi workers’ comp law says that you have 30 days to give written notice of the injury. However, you must verbally inform a supervisor or the HR department of the incident immediately after it happens.
The reason for this is that the employer has the right to administer a drug test to check that you were not under the influence when the accident happened. This would prevent you from filing a workers comp claim.
If you are severely injured, you will definitely be taken to the nearest hospital without delay. There, blood tests will be ordered to check for alcohol and drug presence in your system.
2. Attend All Medical Appointments
You must be able to prove your workplace injuries through a medical report detailing your condition and its potential causes. Any workplace injury or illness must be diagnosed by a healthcare professional in order to be taken into consideration by the insurance company.
At a certain point, the insurer will also request an independent medical examination. You must submit to this examination and cooperate with the doctor evaluating your condition.
3. The Employer Must Report Your Accident
Within 10 days after you notified them of your accident, your employer must fill in the First Report of Injury or Illness form. This form must be sent both to the employer’s insurance company and the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission.
It is important to remember that if the commission does not receive this form within 2 years after your accident, you are barred from any legal process of filing a claim. Thus, you should check that your employer reported your injury.
An experienced lawyer can handle this aspect, if your employer refuses to do their legal duty.
4. The Insurance Company Responds
Once the insurance company receives the form notifying them of your injury, they can respond in two ways: they can accept the claim and send you their offer for benefits, or they can deny your claim.
In both situations you must consult with a Jackson workers comp attorney. The offer for benefits is often less than you deserve. Thus, the lawyer will start negotiations, based on your actual medical care costs and amount of replacement wages.
5. Appealing a Denied Claim
If the insurance company denies your workers comp claim, you have to file an appeal with the Mississippi Workers Compensation Commission. Thus, you will fill in and submit the Petition to Controvert within 2 years after your workplace accident.
Initially, the commission will try to resolve the matter through negotiations. If they fail, you will have to attend a hearing before a workers’ compensation judge. You have the right to appeal the judge’s decision, if it is not in your favor:
- Appeal to the Full Commission: within 20 days after the workers’ comp judge decision, you can file an appeal and the Full Commission will reexamine the facts of your case
- Appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court: if the commission’s decision still denies your claim, your last legal resort is a Supreme Court appeal
During the entire appeal process, you will need experienced legal representation to navigate the procedures and combat the workers’ comp insurer’s arguments against your claim.
Schedule a Free Case Review with a Jackson Workers Comp Lawyer!
The best way of handling a workers comp claim is enlisting the professional assistance of a Jackson workers comp lawyer. You need to face the insurance adjuster evaluating your claim armed with an equal level of experience in this specific branch of the law.
Ultimately, if your claim is denied, you will have to rely on an attorney to stand a chance during the appeal process. However, it is much better to act under a lawyer’s guidance from the very beginning of your case.
As a new client, you enjoy a free case evaluation, so do not waste valuable time and contact us today at 601-519-4181!