The aftermath of a construction accident is chaos: you’re hurt, in shock and on top of it all, you have a lot of important decisions to make. The paperwork is confusing, you’re hearing advice from all angles, and one wrong move can cost you millions. Don’t be blindsided. Here are the top mistakes New Yorkers make after a work accident:
1. Not seeking immediate medical attention
Whether you don’t think your injury is important enough for a doctor’s visit or you’re afraid of the medical expenses, it's crucial that you see a doctor right after your accident. Many injuries develop over time and seeing a doctor early is the key to getting any compensation down the road. Don’t worry about the cost – everything from the appointments to the prescriptions should be covered by workers’ compensation.
2. Letting your employer pick your doctor
For the most part, you have the right to see the doctor of your choice, if they are approved by the workers’ compensation board. Depending on your employer’s insurance plan, you may have to stay within a network, but your employer should never insist that you go to a specific doctor. Also, you have the right to change doctors later if you’re not happy with your care.
3. Signing insurance company medical releases
Medical release forms give the insurance companies access to your complete medical history. Insurance companies often request this information to try and connect your injury to a pre-existing medical condition and get out of paying. Do not sign these without talking to a lawyer! While these releases may be required, you should not give away this information unless you must.
4. Talking to the insurance company rep
After an injury, you might hear from a claims adjustor at the insurance company. They often sound concerned, official and talk to you about your injury. Do not talk to them. Regardless of how sympathetic they sound, they are employees of the insurance company who are paid to save them money and you aren’t required to speak with them. If you’re asked to give a recorded statement, make sure that it is an actual requirement of the insurance policy and only give a short, factual, account of the accident.
5. Letting someone from the insurance company come to your appointments
Another tactic that the insurance companies use is the nurse case manager. Nurse case managers can ask about your recovery process, try to gain insight about your medical condition, or even ask to accompany you to your appointments. Do not provide them with any information or allow them to attend your appointments. Remember, they are still employees of the insurance company. Also, you have the right to privacy with your doctor.
6. Accepting a settlement
A settlement can be very tempting, especially if it seems like a lot of money. The truth is: if the insurance company is offering you a substantial settlement, it’s because they know your injury is worth a lot more. They also know that once you accept a settlement, there is no way you can ask for more later – even if the outcome of your injury costs you more than you expected. Don’t let them win. Turn it down and talk to someone who can help – a lawyer.
7. Doing it alone
These mistakes are easy to make, especially if this is your first work accident. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano have been helping New Yorkers win their workers’ comp cases for over 80 years. Work injury law is our primary practice and we have recovered over $1 billion for injured workers across the state. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no out-of-pocket costs for using our legal services.
Don’t let a little mistake cost you a lot of money. Schedule your free case consultation at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano and explore your legal options today!