None of us wants to be injured on the job. Yet, accidents happen and workers get hurt. In fact, in 2017, nearly 3 million federal employees reported some type of work-related injury or disease. Only a portion of these cases have historically been accepted and approved by OWCP (Office of Workers’ Compensation Program), the branch of the Department of Labor that handles these cases.
If you are a federal employee, it is extremely important that you understand the steps to take if you are injured on the job. The actions you take immediately after your injury or illness may determine whether or not your claim is accepted by OWCP.
Tell Your Supervisor
The first thing that you must do is to tell your supervisor about the injury or illness. This should be reported as soon as possible. If you are in an emergency situation, you may be able to seek emergency medical care without first notifying your supervisor; however, if at all possible, you should plan to start any case by notifying your supervisor, even if it is over the phone. If you are facing an injury that is being aggravated by your work activities, such as carpal tunnel, notify your supervisor as soon as you become aware of the injury.
Upon being notified, your supervisor should provide you with a form that authorizes you to seek out medical treatment. You must bring this form with you when you seek out medical treatment.
You also will need to complete the employee section of Form CA-1, if you have a traumatic injury, or Form CA-2 if you have an occupational disease. You must submit the completed form to your employer, who will then fill out their portion and give you a receipt. If your employer does not give you a receipt, make sure to ask for it.
Seek Medical Attention
The next step is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your supervisor may recommend various physicians or medical treatment centers in the area, but you are not required to use these recommendations. You are allowed to select the physician or medical facility of your choice.
In fact, this may be the most important decision you make in regards to whether your injury or illness case is approved by the OWCP. Not all physicians and medical treatment centers understand the documentation requirements set forth by the Department of Labor for workers’ compensation claims. This can pose a serious problem because, if your doctors do not know how to fill out your OWCP forms correctly, it could result in a denial of your claim.
You should look for a physician or medical center that has experience filing federal workers’ compensation claims. The experienced doctors at Elite Healthcare Center understand the specific format and language that the Department of Labor is looking for in order to approve the claim. This vital step can make the difference in obtaining the care you deserve.
Maintain Communication with Your Employer
It is important to maintain constant communication with your employer about your work injury. You must let your employer know when you can return to work and if you will require any limitations or modification once back at work. You also should provide them with proper medical notification in regards to any return to work issues. This will ensure your needs are met when you return to work.
Following these crucial steps can improve your chances of having your OWCP claim approved and obtaining the full compensation you deserve.