If you are pursuing workers’ compensation after sustaining an injury on the job, one of the most critical things you can do throughout this process is maintaining accurate and detailed records and notes regarding all aspects of your case. Thorough record-keeping can help you secure a fair settlement and, if there is a dispute between you and the insurance company, it will serve as helpful evidence on your behalf. If this is your first time, however, you might not know exactly what records or details are important.
We have compiled a list of records you should keep and maintain throughout your case:
- Mileage and out-of-pocket expenses: Lots of expenses come with being injured, including having to travel to and from your medical appointments. Luckily, you can be reimbursed for these trips, based on mileage. You might also be able to receive reimbursement for other travel expenses, including public transportation, parking, or tolls. Of course, to claim these important benefits, you are going to have to keep track of all of your mileage to and from any medical appointments related to your injury, whether it be an independent medical exam or physical therapy.
- Missed time from work: Injured workers who are temporarily unable to return to their duties can receive temporary disability benefits, which are usually about two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage. Partial temporary disability benefits are available for those who are able to return to work, but are earning less because they must take on light-duty work or work for fewer hours. While your time off from work should absolutely be recorded by your employer and noted in your medical records, you should still keep your own records and notes. If there are any errors in your employer’s records, or you do not receive a benefit check, having your own records can be critical. Additionally, these records will be helpful to refresh your memory before providing testimony at your workers’ compensation hearing or at a deposition.
- Your claim: Always keep track of any paperwork that you send or receive that relates to your workers’ compensation claim. In the event that the insurance company disputes your claim, having as much evidence as possible will help you successfully win your case. Some of the documents you should keep copies of include: accident reports, claim forms, doctors’ reports, contact information for witnesses, correspondence between you and your employer or their insurance company, acceptance or denial letters from the insurance company, and forms filed with the state workers’ compensation agency.It is also important to keep notes of any phone conversations you have with the insurance company regarding your claim. Include pertinent details like the name of the person you spoke with, the date and time, and what you were told.
- Pain Journal: Unlike personal injury cases, you cannot be compensated for pain and suffering in a workers’ compensation case. That said, it does not mean keeping a pain journal cannot be useful. Keeping notes of the pain and severity of your injuries and the extent to which it limits your ability to work might help your case in other ways. For example, if you lose the full use of an arm, your doctor will assign a permanent disability rating, which will result in a monetary award.
Essentially, the more records and notes you have, the better. Even if you do not end up needing all of it, being prepared is always a good thing.
Santa Ana Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you are pursuing workers’ compensation benefits because you were recently injured while at work, you will need a skilled workers’ compensation attorney on your side. At Ufkes & Bright, our team of Santa Ana workers’ compensation attorneys prides itself on providing one-on-one attention and big firm results. Let us assist you every step of the way.
Contact our firm today at (714) 500-8661 to set up a free consultation!