When you get paperwork from the workers’ compensation insurance company, it’s time to talk to an attorney. It’s important to know exactly what you’re signing.
The paperwork might be something as simple as an agreed statement of fact where they list all the facts about your accident so that they can enter what’s called an award. In all likelihood, it’s probably something you want to sign and need to sign to move your case forward and ensure timely payments.
But you want to make sure all the information listed is accurate. And in that case, the best thing to do is to consult with an attorney to review the paperwork and ensure you don’t end up signing an inaccurate statement or a statement that could cause you problems later.
Why You Need to Be Careful About What You Sign
When you receive paperwork, you need to realize that the paperwork is not coming from your employer. Some injured workers sign everything they get related to a workplace accident because they trust their employer. However, the workers’ compensation insurance company is the one who will be requesting that you sign paperwork.
Insurance companies are interested in managing their expenses, which means limiting the amount they pay out on claims. When it comes to signing paperwork from the insurance company, keep these things in mind:
- You need to have an in-depth understanding of all the paperwork you sign.
- Read documents carefully and ask questions about any clauses or statements you don’t understand.
- Ask your attorney to review the documents and follow the attorney’s guidance as far as when to sign and when you should wait until you know more about your injuries or injury expenses.
- Ensure you’re completing the required workers’ compensation processes.
Timely Responses and Action Are Crucial for Workers’ Compensation Claims
While there is a two-year statute of limitations on workers’ compensation claims, you have other deadlines to consider. Failing to meet a deadline or respond to inquiries quickly could mean you don’t start receiving compensation or that you get blocked from filing a workers’ compensation claim entirely.
The most important timeline you need to observe in Virginia is notifying your employer of the accident and your resulting injuries within 30 days of the accident. Failing to give notice could mean that your employer has grounds to deny your benefits.
Another important deadline you should be aware of is the three-year statute of limitations for permanent partial disability. The start date for this three-year period could be later than the date of your accident because you likely won’t know how permanent your injuries are until you’ve undergone treatment and perhaps even physical therapy to rehab your muscles and body after you’ve taken some time to heal.
You’ll also need to be timely in returning to work once your doctor clears you to do so. Failing to return within that time frame can mean that your employer has a reason to terminate you.
Connect With a Lawyer Who Knows the Process
If you’re a loved one of a worker who died as a result of a workplace injury, you have two years after the worker’s death to file for death benefits in Virginia. Make sure you talk to an attorney as soon as possible to protect your death benefits and file all required paperwork to begin receiving those benefits.
Ultimately, all paperwork that comes from an insurance company related to a claim should have an expert review it. An attorney will protect your rights and ensure you know what you’re signing.
Geoff McDonald & Associates offers a free consultation to review your workers’ compensation case and provide advice on how to work with the insurance company. Schedule your free consultation now.