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How to get the ball rolling with a workers' compensation claim

As a member of the workforce in the Twin Cities area, you may be aware of the fact that your employer carries workers' compensation insurance that will cover your medical expenses and lost wages in the event of a workplace injury. However, if you should suffer an on-the-job injury, would you know which steps to take? If you do not follow the appropriate procedures, your employer or the insurer may deny your benefits claim.

After any work-related injury, the essential first step is to get the appropriate medical care. However, your employer may have a list of approved physicians, so you must make sure you have that information. You will then have a limited time in which to report the injury to your employer.

Create a written report

Not all injuries are immediately apparent, and you may only realize damage at a later stage. For that reason, a medical evaluation after any work-related accident is essential. That will start an official trail of the incident that caused you harm. Establishing a record may be valuable later, and for that reason, advisers say you must inform your employer of your injury in writing -- even if you have already made a verbal report.

Your employer must then provide you with a workers' compensation claim form. Upon completion of this document, it must go to the insurance provider, along with copies of the report to your employer and a medical report from the doctor.

Your employer's responsibilities

Employers who fail to carry workers' compensation insurance may face criminal charges or fines. Furthermore, an employer must provide the necessary claim forms, and once filled out; he or she must file it with the insurance provider and the office of the state's workers' compensation board. Filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits does not guarantee approval, and the insurer will evaluate the claim. It is against the law for employers to retaliate against any employees who file benefits claims.

Your next steps

An administrator will inform you of the outcome. If the insurer approved your claim, you would receive such notification, along with information about the benefits for which you qualify. You will have no further responsibilities, except checking the progress of your claim. However, you may want to keep accurate records of any injury-related expenses you have, including medication, traveling to and from doctor's appointments and how your injury adversely impacts your life in general.

What happens if the insurance provider rejects your claim?

You are entitled to utilize the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney for the navigation of the benefits claims process. A lawyer can also handle the complicated appeals proceedings on your behalf if the insurer or your employer rejected your claim.

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