Things To Help Speed Up Workers Comp Claims
Job-related injuries continue to affect the Wisconsin workplace, with tens of thousands of citizens seeking medical care for an injury at work. Wisconsin law allows most injured workers to obtain workers’ comp benefits for their losses, but navigating your claim alone can be intimidating and take time.
Fortunately, there are several ways to speed up your workers’ compensation claim, which we outline in this article. If you have further questions about a workers’ comp case, our Milwaukee workers’ compensation attorneys at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf can address them.
How Often Do Workplace Injuries Happen?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that approximately 2.8 million workers suffer an injury at work annually. About 5,000 employees die in workplace accidents every year. Many workplace injuries may be relatively minor and cause only a few days of missed work. But for some, a job-related injury can result in a severe injury that changes their lives and makes it difficult or impossible to earn a living.
What Are The Most Common Workplace Injuries?
The most common causes of workplace injuries in Wisconsin are:
- Repetitive use injuries or overexertion: These injuries may require physical therapy or rehabilitation for the employee to regain function.
- Slips and falls: Many severe injuries and fatalities at work are caused by slips and falls. Construction workers are at especially high risk.
- Defective products and equipment: Some injuries and deaths are due to faulty equipment or products.
- Heavy machinery accidents: Many worksites are full of heavy machinery in tight spaces that, if misused, can cause severe accidents.
- Falling objects: Many head, neck, and spine injuries occur because of falling objects or debris at construction sites.
Do You Qualify For Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation?
If you were injured recently at work in Wisconsin, you could be concerned if you will qualify for benefits. Wisconsin workers’ compensation laws state that the Workers’ Compensation Act protects all workers working for an entity with three or more employees. Companies with fewer than three employees also are subject to the law if they pay more than $500 in wages or more in any quarter of the year. Thus, most workers in the state are covered.
Workers’ compensation laws in the state define a workplace injury as any ‘mental or physical harm due to a job-related accident or disease, including damage to dental appliances, teeth, and artificial limbs.’ Injuries covered under the state workers’ comp law include:
Covered physical injuries include burns, cuts, bruises, hernia, crushing injuries, fractures, sprains, strains, amputation, stiffness, paralysis, loss of hearing or vision, and disfigurement.
Covered mental injuries include hysteria, nervous disorders, and traumatic neurosis. Brain hemorrhage effects due to an industrial accident also could be involved. If the workplace injury is emotional stress or mental harm without physical damage, you must show it was because of an incident more significant than the day-to-day emotional and mental stresses workers typically face.
Traumatic physical or mental harm that happened unexpectedly and suddenly because of a job-related activity.
Long-term physical or mental harm due to exposure over a long period to a hazardous or toxic substance at work. Common occupational diseases that may be covered include infection, silicosis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, lead poisoning, repetitive use injuries, and various respiratory diseases.
How Long Should Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Take?
State law requires most Wisconsin employers to provide no-fault workers’ compensation insurance. How long does it take to receive benefits? The length of time depends on several factors, but you should receive a key update on your claim status within a few weeks of filing. With an occasional exception, you should get a written notice that your workers’ claim case was approved or denied in two to four weeks after submission. If more than a month has elapsed since you filed, talk to a Wisconsin workers’ comp attorney for assistance.
How To Speed Up Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Most workers who are injured want to get benefits as soon as possible. Here are several ways you could speed up the process:
Report Your Job-Related Injury Immediately
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development states that an injured employee must report the injury to their employer, Not doing so can cause the claim to be delayed or denied. To get the process moving, it is best to report the injury as soon as possible. Every day you wait adds days to the timeline.
Never Wait To File A Workers’ Comp Claim
Telling your employer about the injury is insufficient to process the claim. You also have to submit all the required paperwork without any unreasonable delay. It is always important to take time to prepare a complete workers’ comp claim, but do not allow days and weeks to pass, or the claim will be delayed. If you have trouble collecting the information you need for your claim, an attorney can help you speed things up.
Go To All Medical Provider Appointments
A common reason injured workers experience claim delays is disagreements about medical records. There is nothing you can do to change errors the workers’ compensation insurance company makes, but you can make the process go more efficiently by going to all of your medical appointments. If there is an appointment you cannot make, ensure that you reschedule it promptly.
Also, double-check that all critical medical records were included when you filed the claim. Weeks can be added to the compensation process if the insurance company has to circle back and ask you for a forgotten medical document.
Get Legal Help Immediately If You Are Denied
Workers’ compensation is designed to help injured workers, but sometimes, even a legitimate case is turned down the first time. While getting an adverse decision slows things down, it does not mean you cannot receive benefits. If you got a denial letter or other negative feedback about your claim, talk to a workers’ comp attorney for help.
Contact Our Milwaukee Workers’ Comp Lawyers Today
If you have additional questions about a workplace injury, the best way to obtain guidance is to speak to a lawyer. Contact our Milwaukee workers’ comp lawyers at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf at (414) 257-2667 for a consultation.