The workers’ compensation system is frustratingly complex. When you’re injured and hurting, it’s far too easy to overlook something simple or make a mistake that can hinder your ability to get the benefits that you need.
If your initial workers’ comp claim was denied, it may have something to do with one of these reasons:
- Your employer is disputing your claim. Maybe your employer thinks that you were injured over the weekend or after work, not on the job. Maybe your employer thinks you aren’t injured at all and are just trying to “milk the system.”
- Your injury doesn’t appear to be compensable. For example, your claim for post-traumatic stress disorder might be denied because you didn’t draw a clear connection between your condition and a physical workplace injury you suffered.
- Your injury wasn’t reported in time or you didn’t file in time. In Oklahoma, you have 30 days to notify your employer of your injury, and there are different limits on filing for compensation depending on whether you were injured or developed an occupational disease. Miss those deadlines, and your claim could be void.
- You didn’t seek medical treatment. You can’t treat your back injury at home, for example, with rest and a heating pad, and expect to be compensated.
- You had a pre-existing condition. This is a favorite denial reason for many insurance companies. They may try to attribute almost anything to your age, a prior injury or some medical condition for which you’ve already had treatment.
- You’re accused of causing your own injury. Insurance companies sometimes try to deflect the responsibility for an employee’s injury by claiming the employee was intoxicated, under the influence of marijuana or engaged in horseplay at the time of the accident.
Perfectly valid workers’ comp claims get denied all the time. You have every right to appeal a denial — but it’s smart to get legal assistance during this process. Otherwise, you could just end up facing a second unfair denial.