Filing Workers’ Compensation Claims
Hopefully you’ve never experienced an injury or disease while on the job, but if you have, you’re not alone. Employers pay thousands of dollars every day to current or former employees who can no longer physically fulfill their previous duties.
In New Mexico, the majority of employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance on all their employees. If you haven’t been injured, you may consider the contribution from your paycheck that regularly supports this fund as nuisance at best, or a problem at worst. But at some point you may see that investment come in handy when you or your family member gets hurt at work.
In this article, we’ll give you some of the basics to knowing when to file a claim and how the process works.
Filing Your Initial Claim
There are several aspects to each injury case involving employers and employees. The first thing to do when an accident or injury has occurred at your job is to make sure that everyone involved has received proper emergency medical care. This may involve dialing 911 or driving the victim to the nearest emergency room.
Once emergency situations have been handled, it is then time to move on to dealing with less serious injuries. This treatment should be provided by a doctor who is approved for handling incidents through your company’s insurance. If you are unsure which doctors are approved, you should hold off contacting one until you get confirmation that the appointment is approved.
After all medical care has been organized and dealt with, you are required by law to notify your supervisor or employer about the incident. You have 15 days after the accident to sign and date a Notice of Accident form and return it to your immediate supervisor. The supervisor should also sign and date the form and return a copy to you with both signatures on it.
Once the form has been signed, it’s crucial that you begin gathering all relevant documentation and records in order to have corroboration for your claims.
Following Through on an Undisputed Claim
Once you’ve set a claim in motion, your employer is responsible for reporting it to the insurance carrier. While the insurance adjustor will examine the documentation and facts surrounding the injury, your employer should help you to connect with a doctor recommended under your policy. While you are being treated, the insurance adjustor should be paying out benefits for both medical bills and wages, for the period that you were unable to work due to the injury.
If all goes well, you should be able to recover after treatment and take up your job again. There are other contingencies in place if your injury is so severe that you are not able to resume working.
Cautions for Disputed Claims
Though undisputed claims can be processed quickly, if the circumstances surrounding the injury are under contention or the injury cannot be clearly linked to causes on the job, the process can become complicated and tense. It is always best to consult with an experienced attorney if your claim appears to be in question or your employer refuses to cooperate.
If you’ve been injured on the job in Las Cruces or the surrounding communities, we invite you to call Ruhmann Law Firm at (915) 845-4529 or (575) 525-8542 today for your free consultation. Don’t let an injury ruin your career — Ruhmann Law Firm will protect your rights from start to finish.