Organized and detailed record-keeping is critical in just about any legal matter, including workers’ compensation cases. In fact, doing so can increase your chances of receiving these important benefits and, if you end up in a dispute with the insurance company, you will have the proof you need to support your claim. Of course, if you have never dealt with this type of matter before, you might not know which records are vital to your case.
Below is a list of the records you should keep for your workers’ compensation claim to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible:
- Mileage and out-of-pocket expenses: You probably know that workers’ compensation can cover your medical expenses, but it can also reimburse you for travel expenses to and from your medical appointments. You could also be reimbursed for other travel expenses, including the cost of public transportation, parking, or tolls. However, in order to claim these benefits, you will have to keep track of your mileage to and from your doctor appointments, physical therapy sessions, chiropractor appointments, independent medical examinations, and any other trips that are related to your medical treatment. Make sure that you keep records of the date, the starting address, the address of your destination, the roundtrip mileage, and out-pocket expenses you incurred along the way.
- Time off work: If you are temporarily unable to work as a result of your injuries, you can receive temporary disability benefits, which are usually about two-thirds of your average weekly wage. There are also partial temporary disability benefits that are available if you are able to return to work, but are working fewer hours or required to perform light duty work, resulting in lower wages. Although your time off from work will likely be recorded in both your medical records and in your employer’s records, you should still keep track of the dates in your own notes. Errors happen, so if your time off from work is not correctly documented, having your own notes will point out those errors and help ensure you receive a benefit check for each week you are off work. These notes can also refresh your memory if you have to give testimony at a deposition or workers’ compensation hearing.
- Your claim: It is also crucial that you keep track of any paperwork related to your workers’ compensation claim that you either send or receive. This is important because, if the insurance company decides to dispute your claim, you will have solid evidence that proves you gave your employer notice of your injury and that you filled out all the necessary paperwork to receive your benefits. Some of the documents you should keep copies of include accident reports, claim forms, doctor reports, contact information for any potential witnesses, correspondence with your employer or the insurance company, an acceptance or denial letter from the insurance company, and any forms filed with the state workers’ compensation agency. Additionally, you should also keep notes of any phone conversations you have with the insurance company regarding your claim, including the date, the name of the person you spoke to, what you were told, and if you followed up on the conversation. The more thorough you are in your record-keeping, the better. You might not need everything, but it is far better to be prepared for any scenario than it is to find that you are missing a vital document.
- Pain journal: Unlike personal injury cases, you cannot receive compensation for your pain and suffering, but that does not mean a pain journal cannot still come in handy. By keeping a pain journal in a workers’ compensation case, you can document the severity of your injuries and how they impact your ability to work. Remember, injured workers can receive a permanent disability award for permanent impairment caused by a workplace injury, so if you no longer have full use of a limb, for example, your doctor will assign a permanent disability rating. This translates into a monetary award.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Sacramento
If you sustained an injury at work, you are entitled to crucial workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, insurance companies often push back to prevent workers from obtaining the benefits they deserve and need. At Smolich & Smolich, our Sacramento workers’ compensation attorneys will diligently fight on your behalf to ensure you secure a favorable resolution.
If we cannot win your case, you will not owe us any legal fees!
For the representation you deserve, contact us today at (888) 452-0703 and schedule your free initial consultation.