Often times, workers legitimately hurt at work get their workers' compensation claims denied. There are many reasons workers' compensation can be denied, but here are 5 of the most common reasons used to deny D.C. workers comp.
5 Common Reasons Workers' Comp Gets Denied
1) Not Reporting the Injury Immediately - unfortunately, waiting too long can be harmful for a injured worker seeking workers' comp benefits. Let's say you were injured on the job. You weren't sure of the seriousness of the injury, so you decided to wait and 'watch its progress'. At the end of a month, you realize that the injury is worse than you thought it was. If you do end up having a serious injury, and you've waited to report it, it can spell bad news for your workers' comp benefits. They may say since you waited to report it you must not have been that hurt, and they may deny your claim because of it.
2) Filing the claim too late - this is sort of the same concern as number 1. Filing the claim too late is a serious problem, as there are statute of limitations involved that strictly prevent a claim from succeeding if it is filed too late. Don't risk the possibility of finding out after the deadline that you should've already filed your claim. And telling your job or filling out a form the insurance company sends you is not filing your claim!
3) Injury was unwitnessed - sometimes, insurance companies deny claims because they are for injuries that went unwitnessed. Of course, sometimes there is nothing you can do - maybe you simply got injured in the work room by yourself late one night. Or, you were injured on a machine, while coworkers were out for lunch. If that's the case, make sure to inform your supervisor and let at least one other person know what happened.
4) Insufficient documentation - the insurance company may say that there isn't enough documentation to support the fact that your injuries are work-related. To avoid this, get witness accounts and make sure to have your doctor provide a statement attributing your injury to your job.
5) Not having an attorney - often times, injured workers don't know all that they are entitled to and how to navigate the process - in that case, an experienced lawyer is more than beneficial, it is a MUST. When finding a lawyer that's right for you, you can use this workers' compensation evaluation form to ask the most important questions when meeting with attorneys. This worksheet will help you determine the right lawyer for you - a lawyer you can trust, with the experience and specialization you need. And if you're working with the right lawyer, the more likely your workers' comp claim will be successful.
If you were hurt at work and your workers' comp claim has been denied, give us a call today at 202-393-3320 and you will be able to speak to an experienced attorney about your specific situation. We'll even send you a copy of a free book written specifically for injured workers that will explain the D.C. workers comp system.
But don't wait - reasons 1 and 2 can prevent you from getting benefits after a work injury if you don't take action.