Following an NJ injury in the workplace, the injured employee is required to follow certain processes and procedures. For example, NJ law mandates that every workplace injury is reported to the management or the human resources department at your employer within 14 days of the accident or discovery of the injury. Informing your employer doesn’t need to be writing and a verbal report suffices under the law, but it is in your best interest to document this exchange.
In addition to reporting your injury, what other information and events should be documented during your NJ workers’ compensation case?
The Events Leading to an NJ Injury in the Workplace
Eventually, your employer, the insurance company, an NJ workers’ compensation lawyer, and possibly the NJ Division of Workers’ Compensation will want to hear how the workplace accident occurred. You’ll want your recollection of the events to be clear and fresh in your mind when you relay them to these different parties, but these conversations and a hearing will not occur immediately.
Rather, you should document the exact events leading to an NJ injury in the workplace soon after it occurs. This documentation not only serves as your reminder when speaking with an employer or insurance company but can also be incredibly helpful to an NJ workers’ compensation lawyer that may take your case.
Documenting Medical Attention and Appointments
Most workplace injuries in NJ require some form of medical attention to treatment. A medical practitioner should even assess the cuts, bruises, and scrapes resulting from a minor accident should be reviewed to ensure the fastest healing process. While a quick and effective recovery is the main reason to seek medical treatment, it isn’t the only reason after an NJ injury in the workplace.
The assessment and report of a doctor, specialist, or chiropractor can be used in an NJ workers’ compensation case. In every visit, a medical practitioner will create a patient file. This file will contain an overview of the injury, treatment advice, and if requested or applicable, a report on the most likely cause of the injury. Physicians and other practitioners are known to keep meticulous files, particularly when there is the possibility of a court case or dispute.
Why are medical records and reports important? These documents, even when electronic, provide a timeframe for your injury. A medical report can establish the estimated length of recovery, the severity of your injury, and affirm that it was an NJ injury in the workplace. If there is a dispute, this could rule out other causes or accidents.
Conversations with the Insurance Adjuster
Once you inform your employer of an NJ injury in the workplace, your employer is required by law to report the incident and resulting injuries to its workers’ compensation insurance company. This relay of information should occur swiftly and without dispute or delay by your employer.
Once the insurance company has received high-level information on your NJ injury in the workplace, it will begin investigating and assessing your claim. As part of this investigation, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your workers’ compensation case. While this insurance adjuster will typically act respectfully and honestly, his or her incentives contradict your own.
An insurance adjuster is tasked with determining the least amount of money the insurance company can pay on your claim. A good insurance adjuster will look to cut charges from your medical expenses or make arguments that you took unnecessary days off work. In some instances, an insurance adjuster will find a reason to argue your NJ injury in the workplace doesn’t qualify for workers’ compensation insurance at all.
To avoid any complications during your NJ workers’ compensation case, you should document every conversation had with an insurance adjuster or another representative from the insurance company. Make notes of questions asked and how you answered. Be certain to date stamp these notes and keep additional copies that won’t accidentally be erased or modified.
Other Questions on Documenting a Workplace Injury
If you have other questions on documenting a workplace injury or the process of a filing a workers’ compensation claim, speak with our team at the Law Offices of Albert J. Talone. Our local office in NJ can be reached by calling (856) 234-4023.