Navigating the Oklahoma workers' compensation claims process can be complicated, especially if you are struggling to cope with serious injuries. However, you are most likely going to be dependent on these benefits to care for your family while you are incapacitated. Avoiding delay in the reporting of your injuries can is critical because this may jeopardize your eligibility or the effectiveness of the workers' compensation system.
Certain deadlines apply to the reporting of workplace injuries. As an employee, you have 30 days to report your injury, while your employer has 10 days to file a completed claim form with the insurance program -- if your injury caused an absence exceeding three days.
What are the consequences of delayed reporting by the employee?
There are several ways in which late reporting of your injuries can affect your workers' compensation benefits and the quality of care you receive:
- Delaying a report to your employer could delay the commencement of medical care, which could negatively impede your recovery time.
- Some clinics specialize in the treatment of occupational injuries, and by not reporting your injury, you may not be eligible for such treatment.
- Under workers' comp, you might be entitled to managed care initiatives such as the services of a nurse case manager.
- The insurer typically investigates workplace accidents to identify fraudulent claims. Delaying the report may make them suspicious due to compromised evidence and witnesses who are no longer available.
- If either drug or alcohol impairment was suspected, it would be too late for you to successfully pass a test for impairment, which could lead to the potential denial of your claim.
What are the consequences of delayed reporting by the employer?
There are also several ramifications that can result from delays by your employer in reporting your injuries after a workplace accident, including the following:
- Trust between employer and employee is paramount, and if your boss fails to report your injury, it will probably negatively affect your confidence in the company.
- The same goes for your co-workers. If they see that your claim goes unreported, it might destroy their trust in your employer, which could have an adverse impact on overall employee morale in the workplace.
- Investigations to determine the causes of on-the-job injuries are vital to the prevention of similar incidents in the future. By not reporting it, chances are other employees will suffer similar injuries in the future.
- Continuing communication between you and your employer is essential for your eventual return to work. The failure to report your workplace injury to the workers' compensation insurance providers may also delay that process.
While you and your loved ones are suffering the consequences of workplace injuries, you may find comfort in knowing that you can utilize the services of a skilled workers' compensation attorney to navigate the benefits claim on your behalf. A lawyer whose experience includes dealing with the Oklahoma workers' compensation insurance system can ensure deadlines are met and then work on getting you the maximum benefits allowed under the circumstances.