How Do I File for Workers’ Compensation?

If you become injured or sick at work, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation pays for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and some wage replacement if your accident or illness causes you to miss work. When you file a claim, be sure to follow the specific requirements of your state.


How to File a Claim

If you become hurt at work, your first step is to seek immediate medical attention. You should then inform your employer immediately to promptly record your accident. Each state has a different time limit to document the injury, so it’s important to research what that timeframe is or discuss with your human resources department. In most states, you typically have one month to notify your employer, but it is best to verify.

If your company is not willing to help file your claim, you can contact your local workers’ compensation office to assist you with the process.

Normally, your employer has forms for you to fill out and submit. It is then your employer’s responsibility to submit the paperwork to the insurance carrier. Based on your state law, you may also need to file separate paperwork with your state’s workers’ compensation office. Also, verify the time limit that your state requires for the additional paperwork. Typically it should be filed within a year.

Once your claim is approved by both your employer and your insurance carrier, an adjuster from the insurance company will contact you to explain how to receive payment for your medical bills. Just keep in mind that the process may not go as smoothly as you would like it. Keep good records and all documentation of the paperwork and claim information submitted as well as all of your medical bills in case there is any issue in receiving payment.

If your injury does not cause you to lose income and is not permanent, you will likely only receive payment for your medical bills. If you are unable to work and do lose wages as a result of your injury, you will start to receive checks to cover your wage losses approximately one or two weeks after your claim is approved. Once you recover and return to work, your employer will notify the insurance carrier to stop sending wage-replacement checks.


State Workers’ Compensation Office

Your state agency should have a website or hotline that you can contact with any questions about workers’ compensation claims.

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