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Top workers' compensation mistakes to watch for

If you were injured at work, you are probably working on submitting your workers' comp claim. Injured workers in Illinois often depend on workers' compensation benefits to get them through the times when their injury prevents them from earning. The last thing you want is to miss out on this crucial support due to a mistake.

There are several common errors workers' comp applicants commit that seriously complicate the process and even cost them their benefits.

Delaying your report to the supervisor

When you sustain an accident, filling out paperwork may be the last thing on your mind. However, if you delay reporting it, you may be putting your benefits at risk. Technically, you have up to 45 days to report to a supervisor. In practice, a delay of even a few days can lead to the insurer questioning your claim, especially if you do not have witnesses.

Neglecting to comply with doctor's orders

While most people will see a doctor immediately after the accident, they have a harder time keeping up with follow-up appointments. It is important to keep scheduling appointments and treatments as appropriate. Avoid missing appointments; it is better to go the extra mile to show up, even when doing so is difficult, than to face a potential suspension of benefits.

You should also follow the doctor's instructions, including those concerning activity restrictions, and take your prescribed medications. If any aspect of your treatment or medication regimen presents a problem such as a difficult side effect, do not simply stop taking your medicine. Discuss this issue with your health care provider as soon as possible.

Failing to ask about light duty at work

If your doctor believes you are able to return to work on a restricted basis, be active in pursuing such opportunities with your employer. Whatever your job, do not just assume your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions. While this may ultimately turn out to be the case, you need to be on record as having inquired about working on restricted duty and having done your best to obtain such work. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission encourages employers to accommodate light duty.

Submitting a claim that does not provide complete information

It is normal to sometimes overlook details or not to remember exactly how an event occurred. However, if your claim documentation contains omissions or contradictions, you run the risk of denial. Doublechecking the sequence of events and consulting other documentation such as police reports and medical records can help you avoid mistakes and inconsistencies.

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