If you have been injured on the job, you are likely due compensation to cover not only your medical bills, but also any wages that were lost as a result of the injury. However, in order to obtain these funds, you must file a workers comp claim with your employer's insurance company. Sadly, filing a workers comp claim is not always as straightforward as you'd hope, and many applicants have their claims denied -- even though in reality, they do deserve coverage. To avoid having your claim rejected, avoid these mistakes when filing.

Mistake #1: Waiting too long to file.

If you wait too long to file, a few things may happen. First, you may miss out on the opportunity to gather important evidence that could prove you are worthy of a claim. (For instance, someone who witnessed the accident may have since left the company and is now impossible to reach for a statement.) Second, you may pass the statute of limitations for filing a claim in your state, making it impossible to recover the funds you are owned. In most states, you must notify your employer of your injury within 30 to 45 days, and you must make a claim within a year of the accident. Consult a local attorney to find out the specific timeline guidelines in your state.

Mistake #2: Lack of documentation.

In order to approve your claim, the insurance company needs to have documented proof that the injury happened at your workplace, affected your ability to work, and is being treated properly by a qualified medical professional. If you do not include sufficient documentation, they may deny your claim for lack of evidence.

A good rule of thumb is to include more documentation than you think is necessary. Include a copy of any and every document, from receipts to work-generated late slips, associated with your claim. If it's not immediately apparent what a document represents, write a little note on the top of it. For instance, on the top of a receipt, you could write, "This receipt is for a sling I had to purchase to support my shoulder 10 days after the injury."

Mistake #3: Not following through with medical treatment.

If you make a workers comp claim but have not followed the treatment protocol recommended by your doctor, the insurance company could argue that if you had followed treatment protocols, you would no longer be injured. This may not lead to a complete denial of your claim, but it could lead to denial of monetary compensation for ongoing pain and disabilities. 

Throughout the entire process, from the time you are injured until the time you (hopefully) receive compensation, it is important to follow your doctors' orders to the letter. If they tell you to make an appointment for physical therapy, make the appointment. If they suggest taking aspirin every four hours, do so. This will demonstrate to the insurance company that you have been responsible in caring for your injury.

Mistake #4: Not returning to work on a modified program if offered.

If, after your injury, your employer offers to have you return to work and perform only modified duties that would not interfere with your injury, it's in your best interest to accept that offer. For instance, if you regularly load boxes into a truck but broke your ankle on the job and can no longer lift, your employer may offer to have you sit in the office and scan documents until you're healed. Turning down such an offer will not do your workers comp claim any justice, as it makes it seem like you're just trying to get out of working.

Filing a workers comp claim -- successfully -- requires the right timing and attention to detail. For best results, work with an attorney from a firm like Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson, P.S. who can help you avoid these and other common mistakes.