Following a workplace accident, you may wonder how long it can take for your workers’ compensation benefits to kick in. In general, it takes two to four weeks from the time your doctor certifies you are unable to work for your workers’ compensation to take effect.
But the severity of your injuries can really make a difference as well as how quickly you begin the claims process with your employer.
To file a workers’ compensation claim, you first must report the accident with your supervisor and employer. Likely, your employer has an official accident report form you must complete.
From there, you will also need to gather any medical treatment you received as a result of the accident, collect any witness information from the day of the accident, and be prepared that you may have to undergo an additional medical review with your employer.
Though each state has different workers’ compensation laws, you will be in a time crunch to begin the claims process. The Department of Labor offers resources on who to contact in your state to begin the filing process.
Know that if you do not report promptly, your claim can be denied.
Depending on how your employer secures its workers’ compensation insurance (insurance company, themselves, or via the state) will determine who evaluates your workers’ comp claim.
Regardless of the entity reviewing the claim, you will be contacted by a claims administrator who reviews the details of the event, discusses what occurred with you and any witnesses, and will review your medical files.
Then, within your state’s timeframe, the claim will be approved or denied.
Claims are denied for a variety of reasons from failure to submit before the deadline, insufficient evidence, etc. Commonly, workers’ comp claims are denied because the injured party is an independent contractor, the accident occurred as a result of a violation of a company policy, or the injury did not take place at work at all. However, you still have the right to appeal the decision if your claim is denied.
After your accident, your employer, the insurance company, or the state itself will begin to pay your medical bills. However, in cases where the incident has unique circumstances and the cause of the accident is unclear, it will take more time to determine if you are eligible for additional benefits.
Potential benefits you can receive include:
Once approved, payment for lost wages and other potential benefits can begin within a few weeks of the claim.
If your claim’s initial investigation has taken more than four weeks, you will likely need a workers’ compensation attorney. In some cases, claims can take longer if you had to switch doctors, waited until the very end of the claims submission timeline, or had issues seeking a company doctor.
Further, if the claim is particularly complex and your injuries severe, the investigation can take two months or more. However, after those eight weeks end, if you still are not gaining insight, contact a lawyer.
While these can be complicated cases, workers’ compensation claims are not uncommon. If you feel as though you are not being treated fairly, or that your employer or the insurance companies are giving you the runaround, an attorney can help protect your interests while you focus on recovery.
Workers’ compensation laws are complex and laden with nuances and deadlines that can become confusing, especially when you’re already hurt and likely out of work.
Let the workers’ compensation lawyers of Regan Zambri Long help. Our team can help you from start to finish, ensuring you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact our workers’ comp lawyers today for a case evaluation online or by calling us at 202-960-4596.