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Each year, Americans take more than 488 million trips for business-related purposes. That’s 488 million opportunities for people to get injured away from the workplace.
Getting injured on a business trip is no different than getting injured in the office. Your company is still liable for your wellbeing. This means you’re still entitled to workers compensation.
But how do you handle filing a claim when you’re away from the office? Here are a few simple tips to help.
1. Make Sure You Have a Claim
If you get injured at your workplace, it’s pretty obvious that you have a valid workers compensation claim. If you’re injured away from the office, the lines get a little blurrier.
Think about what you were doing when you got injured. Were you performing a job-related task? Or did the injury happen when you weren’t actively working?
If you participated in an event that wasn’t work-related and got injured, even if it was on a business trip, you may not be eligible for worker’s compensation. If this is the case, you’re responsible for your own medical care.
But if the injury happened when you were out entertaining clients, you may be able to file a claim.
2. Don’t Brush It Off
When you’re in the middle of a work trip, it’s tempting to ignore minor injuries. After all, you’re not at home, you’re away from your doctor, and you have other things to do.
But that can put you at risk of invalidating your worker’s comp claim.
Any injury you receive while performing tasks related to your job should get reported. This protects your health and your employer’s liability for the injury.
Don’t ignore it or wait to report it until you get home. Leaving injuries untreated can often make them worse, making it harder for you to recover fully.
If you’re injured, pay attention to what happened and get the help you need.
3. Contact Your Employer
If you believe you have a valid claim, your next move should always be to contact your employer. They need to know about the injury to start the claim process.
The sooner you report your injury, the better.
In many states, you only have 30 days to report your injury. If you don’t, you won’t be able to file a claim.
4. Get as Much Proof of the Incident as Possible
Documentation is always helpful when it comes to proving a worker’s compensation claim. It gives the insurance company proof that you were in fact injured on the job.
After the incident, try to get statements from others that witnessed your injury. Get their contact information and pass these along to your human resources manager.
Take pictures of the injury and write down everything you can remember from the accident as soon as you can. Waiting until the next morning can leave you forgetting important details that further validate your claim.
5. Go to the Doctor
If the injury is severe enough to make you consider filing a workers compensation claim, go to the doctor as soon as you can. You need to take care of yourself as much as you need to report the incident to your employer.
If you’re away from your hometown, call your insurance company and look for doctors that are in-network whenever possible. This will save you money up front.
Ask for copies of the records from your treatment and bring them home with you. These can help your employer validate the severity of your injuries.
Keep in mind that you may need to see another doctor once you return home to proceed with your claim. Your employer’s workers comp insurance provider recommends these doctors to be impartial judges of the severity of your injuries.
That’s not to say that they’ll make your injuries seem less severe than they are. Their goal is to keep workers from filing fraudulent claims, not to misrepresent your injuries to the insurance company.
6. Find an Attorney
You may not be able to sue your employer for your injuries. But that doesn’t mean you won’t still need help from experienced work comp lawyers.
Some claims, even when they’re valid, get denied by the insurance provider. When this happens, you’ll need an attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve.
It’s always a good idea to speak with more than one attorney and get an idea for their experience and their success rate. Most initial consultations are free and you’re able to get a feel for how each attorney will represent your case.
Choose a lawyer you feel confident in and call them if your claim gets denied.
7. Beware the Fees
Reputable attorneys charge you a portion of your awarded settlement. They don’t expect you to pay an hourly rate or to pay at all if your lawsuit is unsuccessful. This is something called a contingency fee.
It’s designed to make legal help more accessible and encourages people who need an attorney to hire one in the first place.
If an attorney asks you to pay a hefty amount up front to secure their services, keep looking. Otherwise, you’ll be out the money even if they don’t win your case.
Have You Gotten Injured on a Business Trip?
Getting injured on a business trip is stressful, but these simple tips should help you get your workers’ compensation claim filed quickly so you can focus on your recovery. Get treated, get home, and get well soon.
Check out our latest posts for more tips and tricks to help you thrive at work.