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Stop Workers Compensation Benefits from Being Cut Off Too Soon

If you’ve been injured on the job and are relying on your workers’ comp benefits for much-needed income, the idea of your benefits being cut off is scary. Not only do those benefits pay for your medical bills, but they might be helping you cover other bills while you’re either off work or only working part-time around your injury. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation benefits can be terminated early for a variety of reasons, and here’s how you can prevent that from happening to the best of your ability.

Hire a workers’ compensation attorney

From the start, your employer’s insurance company is going to give you lowball offers for your workers’ comp claim, hoping you’ll accept their offer on the first round. That’s because insurance companies want to protect their profits, and most people just take the first offer because they think it’s all they can get. Worse, sometimes perfectly valid claims get denied. Sometimes it’s an oversight, but many times, insurance companies just don’t want to pay out, and they hope the claimant won’t fight the decision.

When you hire a workers’ comp attorney, you’re getting an advocate who will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to not only get your valid claim approved, but to get you the most compensation possible. An attorney will also help you avoid getting classified as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), which can bring your benefits to a halt.

When you’re classified as MMI, it means you’ve reached the maximum level of recovery and, therefore, continued medical care isn’t going to help. Your condition might also be declared “permanent and stationary,” which means there’s no reason for the insurance company to continue providing you with benefits.

Don’t accept a doctor’s dismissal if you’re not truly well

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Once your doctor releases you from treatment, or provides you with restrictions that your employer can accommodate, it’s game over for your benefits. Workers’ comp only pays for medical treatment, not lost wages, so if you’re truly unable to work, don’t pretend you’re okay because your doctor will dismiss you and your benefits will stop.

Avoid common mistakes with workers’ compensation

Always show up to your appointments, including regular and specialist medical visits, court dates, depositions, and other appointments. Most insurance companies have clauses attached to workers’ comp claims that state if you don’t show up to your appointments, they can petition the court to suspend or stop your benefits.

Make sure you see the right doctor

The doctors you see will influence the outcome of your claim, not always for the best, so it’s important to choose the right doctors. However, you might not have many choices. If your treating physician isn’t helpful and you don’t have better options, see a Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME) to get a better chance at getting the full support you need for your case. This one small action can make a huge difference.

Don’t let your employer convince you to do things the wrong way with workers’ compensation

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes employers try to convince injured employees to go through their own insurance policy to get financial compensation for their injuries, stating they can’t afford the consequences of a claim. For instance, they’ll tell the employee if they say the injury happened at home, they’ll take care of them and cover all their lost wages, but then a couple weeks later they get fired and the employer won’t pay.

In this case, the employee has already filed paperwork that states their injury happened at home, which makes it impossible to get any workers’ comp benefits through their employer.

Don’t withhold information with workers’ compensation

A huge mistake many people make that gets their benefits cut off or denied is withholding information. Not everyone does it on purpose, but it’s crucial to report prior injuries even if you don’t think they’re relevant or don’t think anyone would ever find out. For example, if you suffered a knee injury at work, and 12 years prior you had a knee injury in high school, that needs to be disclosed. If it’s discovered later, your case will likely be dismissed for insurance fraud, and they can possibly arrest you, and you could end up with criminal penalties.

Don’t wait to talk to an attorney

The faster you connect with an attorney, the better. Take your case seriously and contact an attorney immediately. Although attorneys have a powerhouse of tools at their disposal, they’ll still need time to review your case. The faster you start the process, the sooner you’ll get compensated if you have a valid claim.

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