Why people might avoid filing a workers’ compensation claim
After being injured while on the job, one of the first things that you might do is file a workers’ compensation claim in order to get your medical bills paid for or to receive compensation for lost time at work. However, there are situations when people choose to avoid filing a workers’ comp claim.
One of the most common reasons why an employee might not file a claim is because they don’t wish to sue their employer. They might fear retaliation from their employer for choosing to file a workers’ compensation claim.
This is a common misconception about workers’ compensation.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is not the same as suing your employer. Rather, filing a workers’ compensation claim is more similar to filing an insurance claim after a car accident. In order to file a claim, you would need to seek assistance from your employer’s insurance company. Benefits are not paid by your employer directly (unless they have chosen to “self-insure”), but rather your employer’s insurance company pays benefits.
Your medical bills should be covered
After an injury at work, especially if it’s of no fault of your own, you might want your employer to pay your medical bills. If you’re planning on asking your employer’s insurance company to pay your medical bills, then it’s important to file an official claim. Don’t want to wait around for these bills to continue to pile up as they could get out of hand and impact your credit score.
When you make the decision to file a workers’ comp claim, you usually won’t receive a medical bill. Instead, the bill will be sent directly to your employer’s insurance company (in most cases). You’re also entitled to receive payments for any lost wages at work so that you can support yourself and your family.
Don’t worry about being fired
Aside from not wanting to sue their employer, another common reason why people don’t file a workers’ comp claim is that they are worried about getting fired or demoted. However, you should know that being fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim is illegal in Georgia.
If your employer fires you for filing a workers’ comp claim, then you may have grounds to sue your employer for wrongful termination. That said, Georgia’s at-will employment laws can make it difficult to prove that you were let go because of filing a workers’ compensation claim, as opposed to another legitimate reason. For this reason, it’s best to work with a knowledgeable worker’s compensation attorney to learn about your rights in such situations.
You usually won’t owe an attorney upfront fees
You also shouldn’t worry about how you’re going to pay an attorney if you decide to file a workers’ compensation claim. For starters, this is a process you can do without a lawyer if your injury is not serious and the insurance company agrees to pay you a full and fair settlement.
If your injury is serious or your claim was denied, then it may be time to consult with an attorney. However, you should know that most workers’ comp attorneys receive their fees from the settlement amount. This means that nothing will be paid unless you win, meaning that your attorney has a strong incentive to fight as hard as possible to ensure payment.
Adjusters will probably mislead you
In most cases, you’ll need to give a statement to the insurance adjuster. It would be better if you do this with your attorney present. Sometimes, the insurance adjuster might feel as though they know what’s best for your situation, the amount that you should receive or what shouldn’t be covered.
However, this amount is often much less than what you actually deserve. Many adjusters know how much you should really receive, but they won’t offer that full amount at first in order to save their employer’s bottom line.
You don’t think you were seriously injured
Employees might not file a claim because they feel they weren’t seriously injured. Even if you don’t think you’re injured to the point where you can’t work, minor injuries can turn to significant ones over time without treatment.
It’s often better to be examined by your doctor and not be seriously injured rather than have a significant injury that you don’t know about. This is why we recommend getting medical attention for all injuries, no matter how minor they seem or fine you feel.
The consequences of not filing a claim
One of the biggest consequences of not filing a workers’ comp claim is that there’s likely not going to be a record with the employer about the incident. You won’t be able to receive the funds that you deserve and therefore you can’t pay your unexpected medical bills.
We want to help you avoid this scenario, give our team at Gerber & Holder Law a call today. We’ll determine if you have a case and which next steps are best for your situation. You don’t want to miss out on the compensation and benefits you’re rightfully due.