Have you been injured at work? If you injury keeps you from working, or leads to costly medical bills, you should apply for workers’ compensation. Your workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process, which typically involves the following steps.
When you sustain a work-related injury, you should let your employer know as soon as possible. Your employer should provide you with a claim form. It is best to make sure you complete the form and give written notice of your injury. However, telling your employer that you were hurt at work may be enough to file a claim. Sometimes a claim may be denied, if you have not given written notice within 60 days of your injury. If you have a denied claim, you should call an attorney.
Consult With a Physician of Your Employer’s Choosing
Oregon law requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, or be self-insured. As a result, your claim may be handled by that insurance company after you formally report your injury. Often you are free to choose your own doctor. But, an insurance company may give you written notice that you must choose a doctor from an MCO panel. You can change doctors if you do not like the one you have.
An “independent” medical exam.
Often to decide the merit of your claim, insurance companies, like SAIF, will send you to an IME. These are not really independent medical exams. The examiners are picked by the company, and usually have a long history of doing these exams. While some of the doctors are through and provide reasonable reports, many do not. Still, the law says you must go to up to 3 such exams. .
Go to Court.
After you’ve given your employer written notice and have had your medical examinations, the insurance company can choose to accept your claim and award you benefits, or deny your claim and leave you with no compensation at all. Your workers’ compensation attorney can help you, free of charge, if your claim has been denied.
If you challenge a denied claim, your case will work its way to the workers compensation court system. The court may review your case with the following considerations in mind:
- The circumstances of the injury
- The employee’s story, and if there were witnesses
- The medical opinions from the IME and your doctor
- The appropriate compensation merited by the injury
You should choose a lawyer who will carefully prepare your case. With the right lawyer, you can ensure you receive the amount of compensation that you deserve.
To learn more about the workers’ compensation process, call your Portland, OR attorney today at 1-800-371-3664.