Work-related injuries and illnesses can often manifest over time. The result is a gradual effect on an employee’s health and ability to work.
When such conditions arise, you should understand how workers’ compensation cases unfold. By exploring what happens when you experience a work-related injury that develops over time, you can build the best possible case for your claim.
Reporting the injury
The first step in any workers’ compensation case is to report the injury to your employer. Unlike sudden accidents, gradual conditions may not have a specific date of occurrence. Even so, it is important to notify your employer as soon as you become aware of the issue. Timely reporting helps ensure that your case is properly documented.
Seeking medical treatment
After reporting your condition, your employer should provide you with information about medical treatment options. You should immediately seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional. Records from your healthcare provider can also play a key role in your workers’ compensation case.
Documenting the injury or illness
Accurate documentation is key in a gradual injury or illness case. Keep detailed records of all medical visits, treatments and expenses related to your condition. This information establishes the connection between your work and the injury when making a claim.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim
To seek workers’ compensation benefits, you will need to file a claim with your employer’s insurance carrier. This claim should include all relevant documentation, such as medical records, treatment bills and witness statements if possible.
The appeals process
If the insurance company denies your claim, you can appeal the decision. This involves presenting your case before a judge who will review the evidence and make a determination.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. employers reported 2.6 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2021. Many of these injuries were the result of conditions that developed over time but were just as debilitating as sudden catastrophic accidents.