Documentation: The Key to Winning Your Workers' Compensation Case

Posted on: 14 January 2019

In the United States, every state has its own set of laws regarding workers' compensation, which covers medical expenses and related costs for people injured in the course of performing their job duties. The goal of the insurance company is to pay as little as possible for your care, which means you need to take an active role in your case. Your workers' comp attorney will do most of the work, but it's up to you to provide documentation of your injury and any ongoing complications. The right documentation can help you get more money for your medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, and other costs related to your injury. Follow these tips to ensure you have the right documentation to support your case.

1. Go to the doctor immediately. Many employees decline to go to the doctor after an injury because they don't think the injury is all that bad. What they do not realize is that injuries can be more serious than they seem at first. Some injuries may not cause symptoms until a few days after the accident. Left untreated, these injuries can cause serious complications. Failure to go to the doctor after a work-related injury can also stop your workers' comp case in its tracks, as you will not have the medical documentation you need to support your claim. Visit the doctor immediately so that a medical professional can document the type and severity of the injury, the treatment you received, and any complications that develop.

2. Get copies of all test results and keep them in a binder. After a work-related injury, you may have to visit several medical facilities: the treating physician's office, an imaging center, a physical therapy practice, or even a hospital. These facilities will keep your records on file, but it's good to have your own copies of test results so that you can discuss them with your workers' comp lawyer and make sure your case is documented correctly. Each time you visit a facility, ask for a copy of any test results, including laboratory tests, MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays. If possible, get copies of the visit summary from any physicians, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, or occupational therapists.

3. Keep a journal that documents your recovery. With the right documentation, you may be able to collect disability payments if your injury is severe enough to prevent you from working while you recover. Keeping a journal can help you prove that your injury has made it impossible for you to work, so keeping one is an important part of any workers' comp case. Write a daily entry that documents how you feel, what symptoms you are experiencing, and what treatments you used to relieve those symptoms. If you are taking any medications for your injury, such as analgesics or muscle relaxers, document how they make you feel. Be sure to mention if the medications make you drowsy, dizzy, or otherwise unable to drive and carry out your normal daily activities.

4. Store all case-related receipts in an envelope or binder. While your case is pending, you may have to pay for some of your medical care out of your own pocket. For example, you may have to cover the cost of prescription medications or pay a copay to see a doctor. Any time you make a purchase related to your work-related injury, get a copy of the receipt and store it in a safe place. These receipts can be used to document the costs associated with your injury.

Thousands of people are injured on the job each year, which is why each state has its own set of workers' compensation laws. If you were injured at work, make sure you keep good records and comply with your doctor's instructions. An experienced workers' comp attorney can guide you through the process of filing a claim.