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Why could your workers' compensation claim be denied?

Workers' compensation is supposed to make it easier for the American workforce. The system is designed to be a no-hassle alternative to time-consuming and costly court fights. That often leads injured workers to believe that all they have to do is file their claim in order for their employer's insurer to kick into gear and start taking care of their medical bills and lost wages.

Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. Slightly more than half of all Part B claims, which cover medical care and lost wages for injured workers, get denied in Maryland alone.

Why could your application for workers' compensation be denied? Here are the most common reasons:

You didn't report your injury to your employer in a timely fashion

If you're hurt on the job, report it immediately. Do not wait until you go home and ice it or put heat on it -- even if it turns out to be nothing more than a bruise later, you still need to document the injury. Keep in mind that reporting an injury doesn't mean you ultimately have to file a claim -- but it will keep you from being denied benefits for being too slow.

You didn't file your actual claim with workers' comp in time

You don't have an unlimited amount of time to file a claim. In fact, how long you have may depend on the type of injury. This is to protect the employer from liability for injuries that really occurred elsewhere.

Your injury didn't require medical care

If the only care you received for your injury was "home care," your workers' comp claim will likely be denied because the injury won't be considered severe. In addition, you'll lack necessary documentation of the injury.

There's no evidence that your injury is related to your work

If you're lucky, you were injured in front of witnesses. However, a lot of injuries take place in stockrooms while workers are alone or in parking lots. That's another reason that it's important to document your injuries with your employer early.

There are, of course, other reasons your claim might be denied. Because workers' compensation can be far from the "easy" process it was intended to be, it's wise to get some early legal advice.

Source: FindLaw, "Workers' Comp Denied? Here Are Your Next Steps," accessed Dec. 27, 2017

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