If you plan to file a workers’ compensation claim, it is important to be prepared and organized throughout the process. The records you keep and the notes you take about your case will be immensely helpful in ensuring your claim progresses smoothly, increasing your chances of securing the benefits you are entitled to in order to achieve the best recovery possible. Additionally, if the insurance company attempts to dispute your claim, these records will provide the proof you need to support it.
Below is a list of some of the records you should keep for your workers’ compensation claim:
- Mileage and out-of-pocket expenses: After sustaining an injury, you are likely going to have some travel expenses to get to and from your medical appointments or other rehabilitative treatments. Injured workers are entitled to reimbursements for these expenses, which are based on mileage. You might also be able to receive reimbursement for parking, tolls, or public transportation if you are not using your own motor vehicle. However, to claim these benefits, you must keep track of the mileage to and from your doctor appointments, physical therapy, independent medical exams, or other visits related to your medical treatment. Make sure your records are detailed and include the date, starting address and destination, roundtrip mileage, and other travel expenses.
- Time off work: If your injury renders you temporarily unable to work, you might be able to receive temporary disability benefits, which are usually two-thirds of a worker's average weekly wages. Partial temporary disability benefits are also available for those who are able to return to work, but earn less due to a cut in hours or a need to take on light-duty work. Your time off will, of course, likely be recorded in both your medical and employer records, but it is still wise to keep track of those dates in your own notes as well in case there are any errors. You can also refer back to your notes before providing testimony at a deposition or your workers’ compensation hearing.
- Your claim: Make sure you keep any paperwork that is sent or received that relates to your workers’ compensation claim. This is useful to have in case the insurance company attempts to dispute your claim. Some of the paperwork you will need that can serve as useful evidence include copies of:
- Accident reports
- Claim forms
- Doctor reports
- Witness contact information
- Correspondence between you and your employer
- Correspondence between you and the insurance company
- An acceptance or denial letter from the insurance company
- All forms filed with the state workers’ compensation agency
It would also be a good idea to keep notes of all phone conversations you have with the insurance company regarding your claim, including the date, the name of the person you spoke with, and how you followed up on what was discussed.
- Pain journal: At the end of the day, this claim is about the injuries you have suffered, so take the time to keep a pain journal that fully explains the pain and physical limitations associated with your injuries. These types of records are often used by injured individuals in personal injury cases and, although the workers’ compensation system does not compensate workers for pain and suffering, it can still be useful to show the severity of your injuries and how it impacts your ability to perform your work duties. Additionally, a pain journal can also be helpful if you suspect the insurance company will try to dispute the seriousness of your injury.
Bakersfield Workers’ Compensation
If you sustained an injury at work, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. To ensure your case goes smoothly and your rights are protected, you will need a skilled attorney on your side. At Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation, we understand that this can be a difficult time, which is why we dedicate ourselves to providing exceptional representation.
Backed by over 130 years of combined legal experience, you can be confident in our firm’s ability to effectively handle your case. Additionally, we will not charge you any legal fees unless we are able to win your case.
Contact our office today at (661) 716-5555 to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team.