Most of the mistakes we see in workers’ compensation cases arise before an injured worker becomes our client and occur because the injured worker does not know the law. Here are some of the biggest mistakes we see that you can avoid:
Failing to Report Your Injury Properly and Timely. Under Georgia law, you have 30 days to report your work injury to your employer. Problems can arise when an injury arises from overuse (what is the actual date of injury) or when notice is given to the “wrong” person. We recommend that you give written notice of injury to a manager or supervisor.
Not seeing immediate medical care – if you wait to seek treatment, the insurance company will argue either (1) that your injury really isn’t that severe; (2) that you actually hurt yourself someplace else; (3) that you made up a story about getting hurt. If you are hurt on the job, don’t try to tough it out. Instead, seek treatment.
Not giving full info to doctor – remember that most posted panel doctors have an existing relationship with your employer or your employer’s insurance company. Often, their goal is to get you back to full duty work as soon as possible. Before you visit the workers’ compensation doctor, make a list of all your symptoms, not just the body part that hurts the most. If you fail to mention a hurting body part to the doctor on your initial visits, the insurance company may try to deny treatment for that body part later on.
Surveillance – there is a good chance that at some point during your case, the insurance company will send an undercover private investigator out to watch you and videotape you. The purpose of this surveillance is to catch you performing some household task that is inconsistent with your claimed impairment.
Videotape of you lifting bags of groceries or climbing on a ladder can severely damage your case. No one will know that you were having a good day and that you ended up in bed for 3 days after that trip to the grocery store.
We advise all our clients to tell the truth to their doctors and to us. We certainly cannot help you if you are not telling us the truth. You should limit your activities to what the doctor advises. If this means no lifting over 5 lbs., then don’t lift more than 5 lbs.