If you are hurt at work, your first instinct may be to assume that you won’t qualify for workers comp. After all, it is a no-fault system designed to protect employees from having to pay for their own negligence and accidents on the job. However, it isn’t always cut and dry. If you are denied coverage or benefits from your workers comp policy, there are several steps you can take to get the help you need and deserve. Even if it seems like an uphill battle at first, these tips will help advocate for yourself and get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Check Your State’s Limitations
First, make sure that your state’s workers comp laws haven’t changed. State laws can vary widely from one state to the next, and they often change over time. It may be that you are missing out on coverage due to a change in your state’s laws.
To find out the latest laws, you can contact your state’s workers comp agency. You can also find information online at sites like ncwlc.org, wcbconnecticut.com, or wcb.org.
Check Your Employer’s Limitations
Your employer may have an internal policy that excludes certain types of injuries. For example, you may work for a company that has a policy that doesn’t cover injuries to workers that occur during off-hours or on the weekends.
You should read all of your employer’s policies, including any internal policies that may apply to you. If you don’t understand the policies, ask your supervisor, manager, or human resources representative to explain them to you. If you don’t feel like you are being treated fairly, you can also file a complaint with your state’s agency that enforces workers comp laws.
Confirm You Are Being Discriminated Against
Even if you don’t qualify for workers comp, you should still pursue any other benefits that you may be entitled to. If you are denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition, you may be able to pursue a discrimination claim against your employer. If your employer discriminates against you, they are violating the civil rights laws of the United States. You can file a complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) or a state commission.
You may also be able to pursue a disability discrimination claim if your injury makes you unable to perform your job. In this case, you will be pursuing a disability discrimination claim instead of a workers comp discrimination claim.
Additionally, if you feel there is a language barrier preventing you from fulfilling your case, search online for terms like “Injured on the job – Spanish” to help you find a legal advisor who can communicate with you in your preferred language.
File an Appeal
If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal that decision. Many states have time limits for appealing a denial, so be sure to check your state’s laws. This also applies if you are waiting for your claim to be approved or your benefits to be paid.
If you have been waiting for more than 90 days, you can contact the state workers comp agency to ask about the status of your claim. You may be able to expedite the process by filing an appeal.
Go to a Small Claims Court
If the appeal process doesn’t work, it may be time to consider taking legal action against your employer. You may want to consider filing a lawsuit in small claims court. This is a great way to get your employer’s attention, especially if they aren’t even aware of their mistake.
Small claims court is meant for people who don’t have a lot of money but still deserve justice. The court is designed for people to represent themselves (without a lawyer) and settle their own disputes quickly and easily.
If you have been hurt on the job, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. However, you may find that your worker’s comp claim has been denied. This can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the road. There are several things you can do to try to get the help you deserve.
You can check your state’s workers comp laws to make sure they haven’t changed, and you can check your employer’s internal policies. You can also file an appeal if your claim is denied or pursue other benefits to which you may be entitled. If you are still denied coverage or benefits, you can file a lawsuit in small claims court. This is a great way to get your employer’s attention and make sure you get the help you deserve.