Are Your Workers' Comp Benefits Being Delayed On Purpose?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Rebecca K. Halberg with Stottlemyer & Associates, LLC.
Workers’ compensation or “workers’ comp” is a form of employee injury insurance designed to aid injured workers with short-term medical bills and lost wages while simultaneously protecting employers from liability. In most cases, an employee receiving workers’ comp benefits is not eligible to file an injury claim against the employer, with the exceptions of injuries that far exceed what workers’ comp will cover, an absence of workers’ comp insurance altogether, and/or if the employer’s negligence caused or contributed to the injury.
However, even when other claims exist, workplace injury attorneys typically recommend filing for workers’ compensation benefits sooner rather than later. This is because workers’ comp can provide immediate financial relief, whereas it can take months or even years for an injury lawsuit to conclude. However, if you have filed for workers’ comp benefits with your employer and found yourself waiting longer than expected to receive those benefits, it’s possible that your benefits are being delayed.
Sometimes a delay in benefits arises from a desire for the injured person to get tired of waiting and give up.
This practice may also occur with unscrupulous insurance providers who would rather keep their policyholder’s money rather than pay out a valid claim. It is important to actively pursue the benefits you are eligible for after a workplace injury; medical bills and lost wages during treatment and recovery for an injury sustained at work should typically not be coming out of your own pocket and can leave employees in a stressful financial hole when they are forced to pay for them on their own due to a delay. Giving up and failing to pursue delayed compensation allows unscrupulous insurance agencies to win at the expense of you and your family’s wallet.
A delay could also be due to an administrative hiccup.
Of course, delays may not always arise out of an intentional desire to withhold money from deserving employees; it’s always possible that paperwork has gone missing or not been properly filled out, or another technical error has occurred. In these situations, it’s equally important to continue asking your employer regularly about the status of your claim. If the issue persists, whether out of an intentional desire to make you drop the claim or an error in the administrative system, it’s important to seek professional help.
Some employers may offer compensation other than workers’ comp.
In general, workers’ comp and workplace injury attorneys recommend refraining from accepting any offer from an employer to pay your medical bills outside of workers’ compensation. Some employers may make this offer in good faith, wanting to help an injured worker while protecting themselves from increasing insurance rates; however, it is unfortunately common for an employer to later realize that they don’t have the money necessary to pay for the extent of the injured person’s needs, leaving the injured employee with no way to pay for the remainder of their expenses.
Workers’ comp attorneys exist to help file and enforce workers’ compensation claims.
Unlike workplace injury attorneys that typically handle litigation against negligent employers, workers’ comp attorneys handle claims and litigation regarding workers’ compensation. If your claim has been denied or unfairly reduced, a workers’ comp attorney may be able to help make sure you receive the compensation you deserve for your necessary medical treatment and time off work.
To learn more about workers’ compensation or for help if your benefits have been delayed, reach out to a workers’ comp attorney.