Getting hurt at work is no one's idea of a good time. It can mean that you have to deal with major medical bills, as well as the inconvenience of missing work. In some cases, the injury could cause a permanent disability that prevents someone from ever returning to their job.
That's why workers' compensation insurance exists. The idea is to limit the costs and financial impact related to a workplace injury or illness. Unfortunately, not everyone who applies for workers' compensation receives benefits right away. In some cases, due to a variety of issues, workers can find their initial claim denied.
Thankfully, California state law allows workers to appeal that initial denial of their benefit request. To successfully appeal a denial, you should take steps to secure evidence about your case.
Make sure you understand why your claim got denied
To gather evidence to push back against the denial, it's important to understand why your initial claim didn't receive approval. Many times, minor issues with your paperwork or improper wording on the part of medical professionals can be a contributing factor to an application denial.
Other times, your employer may dispute your version of events, claiming the injury was pre-existing or that you did not suffer it at work.
Once you know the nature of the denial, that will help you determine what evidence will be necessary to push back against the denial of your claim. Injured workers in California deserve workers' compensation benefits to protect them from the financial consequences of a workplace injury or illness.
After an unfair or inappropriate denial of a workers' compensation benefit application, you need to take immediate steps to begin the appeal process. This includes gathering evidence to support your claim.
Document everything that happens in writing
Begin documenting everything you experience in writing as soon as you suffer a workplace injury. From the location, date and time of the incident to the witnesses present and what response your employer had, records are critical.
Simply giving your verbal version of events can help, but a detailed written record can do much more to substantiate your claims. It can also make it easier for you to secure additional evidence going forward, such as testimony from co-workers who were witnesses to the accident that injured you.
You also want to get copies of all appropriate medical records and reports. Whether you saw a company medical professional or went to an outside facility to have a medical examination and treatment, those records are vital. They can help prove that you did suffer an injury and that the condition is serious enough to warrant workers' compensation benefits.