Although most people give little thought to their risk of being injured on the job, many people suffer injuries or contract illnesses at work every year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Services, the rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses at workplaces in the U.S. in 2018 was 2.8 for every 100 full-time employees. In addition, 5,250 workers were killed in workplace accidents during that year. If you are injured at work, securing the benefits that you need may not be a straightforward process. To increase the likelihood that you will succeed in your workers’ compensation case, we encourage you to retain several important documents. Scroll down to learn more.
Documents to Retain for a Workers’ Compensation Case
As with other types of legal matters, detailed record-keeping is essential for workers’ compensation cases. If the insurance company disputes or denies your claim, saving copies of all relevant documents will help you prove why you should win your workers’ compensation case. That said, it can be difficult to know what records to save when you have not dealt with this type of claim before. Most experts recommend that you hold on to the following paperwork:
Records of Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Most people know that workers’ compensation can pay for their medical costs. However, they might not realize that they can be reimbursed for certain types of out-of-pocket costs that they incur. For example, if you have to travel to and from medical appointments to treat your injuries, you can be reimbursed for your mileage and other travel-related costs, including parking, tolls, gasoline, and public transportation. To claim these types of benefits, you must track your mileage to all of your appointments and keep a mileage log. You should also save receipts from tolls, parking, and other travel-related costs that you incur to get the treatment that you need. Your mileage log should include the date, starting mileage, time of departure and arrival, where you are going, and the ending mileage for when you reach your destination. Keep a clipboard in your car for easy tracking.
Lost Time from Work
If your injuries prevent you from returning to your job temporarily, you may be eligible for temporary disability benefits. Typically, these benefits are around 66 percent of your normal weekly wage. You may be eligible for partial disability benefits if you can return to your job but are forced to work fewer hours. Document the time that you are forced to take off from work. While your employer will likely also keep track of this information, it’s still a good idea for you to keep an independent record in case mistakes are made.
Paperwork Related to Your Claim
You should keep copies of all of the paperwork that relates to your workers’ compensation case. This includes any documents that you submit and receive. Before you mail any forms or documents, photocopy them. If your claim is disputed, keeping these documents can help you prove that your employer received a notice and that you completed all of the required paperwork. In addition, save all claim forms, incident reports, accident reports, lab reports, medical reports, correspondence with the insurance company and your employer, and the names and contact information of any witnesses who saw what happened. If you have phone conversations with the insurance company or your employer, take notes that include the date, time, the person with whom you spoke, any follow-up, and what you were told.
Journal of Your Pain
While you will not be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering you experience, keeping a journal of your pain can still be helpful. Your journal may assist you in documenting how your injuries negatively impact your ability to return to your job and demonstrate the severity of your injuries.
Get Help from the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook
Being organized and keeping thorough documentation after being injured or sickened at work can help to increase your chances of recovering workers’ compensation benefits. Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook at 479-783-8000 to request a consultation so that you can learn more about your claim and your rights. You can also send us a message online. We look forward to hearing from you!