Along with the pain and inconvenience of a workplace injury, there are a million emotions and misunderstandings that come with being injured at work. We’ve talked to clients who have been hurt at work, heard their worries, and have assisted them through some of the most difficult worker’s compensation issues. Unfortunately, the situation can be complicated when they receive incorrect worker’s compensation information; that’s why we’ve compiled a list of common workplace injury myths that can hinder the progress of the workman’s compensation process—and the resolution.
Myth: Your employer has to make a mistake or act negligently for you to have a worker’s compensation claim.
A workman’s compensation claim stems from any injury received while working; your employer does not need to make an error for a claim to be made. To that end, report any injury that occurs on the job, such as a wound or back injury, even if you think it may heal on its own.
Myth: I have to file a claim.
A worker’s only responsibility is to report the injury to their employer and seek medical attention (more information can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development website). Keep all paperwork related to the injury, including paperwork received from the doctor or healthcare facility and healthcare provider. From there, the employer should file a claim with their insurance provider or claim administrator.
Myth: I’m going to lose my job because of an injury.
This is one of the most common worker’s compensation myths—and a misunderstanding that can slow down the recovery process. Put simply, many workers work through the pain because they think that they can lose their job because of their injury. However, employers are not allowed to retaliate against an employee for any reason, including a worker’s compensation claim. In Wisconsin, an employer must have a reason for refusing to rehire a worker to their previous or another appropriate position. (A local, experienced lawyer can give you more information about what an employer can or can’t do when an injured worker can’t work for a period of time.)
Myth: There’s nothing I can do if I am denied coverage.
After an injury, it’s common for the insurance company to initially cover medical expenses and all related expenses. In certain circumstances, however, the insurance companies require employees to submit to an “independent medical examination,” which often results in discontinued coverage. The insurer is unlikely to continue to cover expenses unless a hearing is requested with Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development. (This is another reason to contact a lawyer to assist with the worker’s compensation process.)
Myth: I have to sue my employer to get compensation.
An employee needs to report an injury; there is no lawsuit involved to get compensation. Typically, an employee reports the injury and seeks medical attention. The employer contacts the insurance carrier or claim administrator. Typically, the insurance company compensates the employee; if there are any complications throughout the process, a local experienced lawyer can assist with a favorable resolution.