Documentation important in proving workers’ compensation claims

cartoon businessman under pile of paperUnder the state of Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation Act, employees who suffer occupational injuries or illnesses may, under most circumstances, be eligible for benefits. The types of benefits that may be provided include coverage of medical or rehabilitative treatment costs, coverage of costs for any long-term care needs and disability pay.

Documentation needed for workers’ compensation claims

Keeping records and documentation that is relevant to the workplace accident and their resulting injury, or the conditions that caused they occupational illness, can be important to help ensure injured workers receive the benefits they are entitled to. In cases when employers refuse to pay, having thorough documentation can be especially important for employees to have and include when filing a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The types of records and documentation that may be helpful in supporting a worker’s claim include a personal diary and medical records, as well as letters from family members, friends and co-workers.

Personal diary

Some of the effects of occupational injuries and illnesses, such as pain, lifestyle limitations or adjustments, and psychological issues, can be hard to quantify. By keeping a personal diary, however, these otherwise internal effects can be put into words. In an injury or illness diary, employees should include notes meticulously detailing their pain, the activities or tasks that they are no longer able to do as a result of their injury or illness, medications they have taken and any associated side effects, and other information pertaining to their injury or illness’s effects.

Medical records

Determinations of workers’ compensation benefits are based, in large part, on the diagnosis and opinions of qualified physicians. For this reason, employees who suffer from occupational injuries or diseases should keep all of the medical records relating to their condition, including test results, procedure reports and doctors’ office notes. This type of documentation shows the severity and physical impact of the injury or illness, provides the professional opinions of any physicians that have treated the employee and provides all of the pertinent medical information about a worker’s injury.

Letters

Similar to a personal diary, letters from family and friends can provide valuable insight into how the workplace injury or illness affects the employee each day and the adjustments they have had to make to their everyday lives. In addition to offering these same types of insights, letters from co-workers can also address directly the effects of a worker’s injury or illness as they relate to their job and associated duties.

It can be difficult, in some cases, to prove workers’ compensation claims. Providing thorough documentation, however, can help the commission to make a decision that is educated and informed.