If you’ve been in any type of workplace accident, you likely have a lot of questions. Which doctors will my employer allow me to see? What amount of compensation can I claim? Can I be forced to return to work before I’m fully healthy? You don’t want to worry about all these details when you are trying to heal from your injuries. Contact our workers’ compensation attorneys in Wilmington, Newark, or Seaford for answers to all your questions. We’ll take care of the small details – and the big ones.
At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman we’ll help ensure you have the correct documents at the correct times. We’ll review what information and records you should be collecting during the claims process, which documents you need to submit to your employer’s insurance carrier, and what you need to present as evidence to a Delaware workers’ compensation referee. The short answer to your concerns is that our lawyers will identify each document that can help your claim. In most cases, we can obtain those documents for you.
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Delaware workers’ compensation documentation requirements
Anyone who is injured on the job is required to give a written notice to their employer that an injury has occurred. The Delaware Workers’ Compensation Office requires that accident victims:
- Immediately notify the employer in writing of the injury or occupational disease and request medical services. Failure to give notice or to accept medical services may deprive the employee of the right to compensation.
- Give promptly to the employer, directly or through a supervisor, notice of any claim for compensation for the period of disability beyond the third day after the accident. In case of fatal injuries, notice must be given by one or more dependents of the deceased or by a person on their behalf.
- In case of failure to reach an agreement with the employer in regard to compensation under the law, file application with the Office of Workers’ Compensation for a hearing before the Industrial Accident Board on the matters at issue within two years of the date of accidental injury or one year of knowledge of the diagnosis of an occupational disease or an ionizing radiation injury. All forms can be obtained from the Office of Workers’ Compensation.
You should keep copies of anything you file or submit. Our office can make copies of all your documents.
Employees do need to file a formal claim. Never assume that because an employer has agreed to pay some of your bills that your employer will continue to pay those bills. Our seasoned workers’ compensation lawyers will review your claim and file the correct forms to start your claim with the Delaware Workers’ Compensation Office. The state office provides and receives many forms, depending on different factors, such as whether you are filing an initial claim or seeking an overall settlement of your claim. Some of these forms are for employers. Many of these forms are for the claimants.
In addition to the formal notice and filing requirements, there are also some practical considerations. If you are hurt on the job, you should try to take photos or videos of:
- The accident site and any conditions that might indicate why the accident occurred. While you do not have to prove negligence in a worker’s compensation case, the employer should know what happened so he/she can make changes or repairs to prevent other workers from being hurt. These photos also may help determine if you have a third-party claim against a manufacturer or other non-employers.
- Your injuries. These pictures are not a beauty contest. The photos or videos should show the severity of your injuries including scarring, bleeding, and your anguish.
What medical documentation do Delaware workers’ compensation claimants need?
The insurance company for the employer has the right to know what injuries you have from the accident, what medical treatments you are receiving for those injuries, and why you need medical treatment for those injuries. Injured workers should keep a list of where they obtained emergency medical care, what hospitals they were in, the doctors they are seeing, all the therapists they are visiting, and all the medications they are taking. They should also have a list of the pharmacies they use and any other healthcare professionals or healthcare companies they are seeing.
Our lawyers help injured employees:
- Obtain the medical bills from all your healthcare providers. The bills should show the date of treatment and the type of treatment that was provided.
- Acquire medical reports from your doctors. We’ll work with your doctors to prepare medical reports that explain what your injuries are or what type of occupational disease you have. We often work to show that you still need treatment and may need continuing treatment. In some cases, we may recommend you see other physicians. In some cases, we may seek reports from your doctors that document whether you can work with any restrictions – and what those restrictions are.
- Review and prepare any requests for medical releases.
- Itemize your medications and the cost of the medications.
We often seek records from your own health insurance company, if that insurance carrier pays for any medical expenses before your employer’s insurance company does.
What employment loss documentation will I need for my workers’ comp case?
Typically, our employers need to know which person, such as an accountant or a human resources officer, has records of your employment status, how much you were earning prior to your injury or illness, and how much your employer has paid you after the date of your accident or the onset of your illness. We generally seek this information for up to one year prior to the date of your accident/illness.
If you are able to work, but at a pay rate less than what you were earning before your accident/illness, we seek paystubs and other financial information to show how much you were earning and how much income you’ve lost since your injuries.
What other documentation do workers’ compensation claimants need?
Workers also need to keep or request documentation that show:
- You have been looking for work if your employer cannot accommodate your workplace restrictions or the company can’t hire you for other legitimate reasons.
- Mileage and the costs of transportation to your doctors. Visits to doctors and specialists who aren’t local may be compensable.
- Other documentation depending on the unique medical, income, and vocational issues involved with your claim.
At Silverman, McDonald, & Friedman, our Delaware workers’ compensation lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience fighting for injured and ill employees. We’ll answer all your questions and guide you through each phase of the claims process. Please call 302-888-2900 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation in our Wilmington, Newark, or Seaford Delaware offices.
Related Content: Can I Work Off the Books If I’m Collecting Workers’ Compensation?
Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.