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Paper Chase: Accurate Records For Your Workers' Comp Case

by Jamie Nichols

If you've been hurt while on the job, you are likely entitled to several benefits from workers' compensation insurance. This means that you won't need to worry about medical bills and you will still get paid some of your salary while you recuperate. It's up to you to make sure that you get organized with your paperwork since you never know when you might have to go up against the insurance carrier to fight for your rights to continue getting benefits. Read on about some important records that you will need to keep to help support your workers' comp case.

The claim: You must let your supervisor know about your injury and a claim must be filed. Keep copies of the claim form and all correspondence back (and forth) to the insurance carrier and your employer. Additionally, keep up with the following:

1. Witness information

2. Forms and correspondence from your state's workers' comp board

3. Medical reports and notes and correspondence from your workers' comp doctor

4. Phone notes. If you speak on the phone to anyone about your claim, keep a pad handy and make a note of the time and date, the person you spoke to and what was discussed. This is particularly important if there is a problem with your claim

Paid time off: If you need to stay away from work to recuperate, you are entitled to a partial amount of your pay while you do so. This amount varies, but often equals about two-thirds of your usual pay, and the amount is never subject to income taxes. It's a good idea to keep up with the time periods you were off work and the amounts you were paid for each week.

Mileage and other expenses: You are entitled to be paid for any travel to and from any medically-related trips, so keep up with it by keeping a log. Note the mileage on the vehicle, the time and date, and the destination and purpose of the trip. Keep up with any parking fees or tolls as well in the same log. If you need to use public transportation, like a taxi or a bus to get to a medical appointment or to pick up medications, note that down as well. The IRS standard mileage rate is currently 54.5 cents per mile, though not all states follow the same rules.

Pain diary: It's never a bad idea to keep a journal of your day-to-day struggles with your injury. A work-related injury will affect every aspect of your life, and a journal will come in handy if the insurance carrier or your employer tries to dispute your claim. This journal is especially useful if you end up being permanently disabled and have to negotiate a lump sum settlement from the carrier.

Speak to a workers' compensation attorney to learn more about what you are entitled to and what actions you can take to get it.