- If you are injured or have an occupational disease, tell your employer that:
a. You were hurt or have a disease, AND
b. The injury or disease is the result of your job.
- Tell your employer that you were hurt or have a disease as soon as possible. The law says that you have only 120 days from the time that you were injured or think you were injured to tell your employer. DO NOT WAIT THIS LONG — Tell your employer immediately. You should tell your boss, not a fellow worker or a crew leader.
- You have a workers compensation claim if your injury or disease was caused, aggravated or made worse by your employment. Your previous physical condition does not matter, and your work does not have to be the only cause of your problem. For example, if you smoke cigarettes and are exposed to dust and fumes on your job, a lung disease may be covered by workers compensation.
- Tell the doctor what happened to you. Give details about the type of job you have and how your job caused the problem. If you are suffering from a disease, tell the doctor what you are exposed to at work. Your representative can help you get material safety data sheets (MSDS) that explain the type of chemicals you use at work.
- If your employer has a list of 6 posted doctors, you should go to one of those doctors for the first 90 days of treatment. After that, you may go to a doctor of your choice. However, if you have not been presented with an explanation of your rights, you may be able to be treated by a doctor of your choosing sooner. Consult your attorney.
- The insurance company must tell you “yes” or “no” about your workers compensation claim within 21 days of the day you tell your employer you are disabled. If more than 21 days go by, see your representative.
- Know your forms. Your employer must file the “Employers Report of Occupational Injury or Disease” with the state within 7 days. However, your claim is not officially accepted until you receive a “Notice of Compensation Payable.”
- Payment of your medical bills does not mean that you have an open and recognized workers compensation claim. This is only accomplished with a “Notice of Compensation Payable.” Make sure that the “Notice of Compensation Payable” accurately describes your injury.
- If you are denied benefits, you need to file a petition to bring this matter before a workers compensation judge. You must do this within 3 years of the injury.
- Workers compensation pays two-thirds of your gross salary for all jobs as long as you are disabled. If you go back to work at a lighter job because of medical restrictions, you will be paid partial disability, which is two-thirds of the gross difference between your old wage rate and your new wage rate.
- When you go back to work, make sure you sign the correct paper. A termination means that you are completely better. A termination happens when you sign a Final Receipt or a Supplemental Agreement providing for a termination. You have 3 years from the date when compensation benefits are payable to reopen a Final Receipt. You may also have your benefits suspended. This is done by a Supplemental Agreement, although not all Supplemental Agreements provide for a suspension. If your benefits are suspended, you have 9 ½ years to reopen your workers compensation claim.
- Medical benefits for the injury or disease are payable as long as you need them.
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