Getting injured is one thing — getting injured at work is an entirely different legal issue. Unfortunately, injury on the job is not that uncommon. After being hurt at work, you’ll want to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits by reporting the accident to your employer immediately.

It is important to know what steps need to be taken when filing a Workers’ Compensation claim in Georgia.

Avoid these 4 common mistakes when filing for Workers’ Compensation in Georgia:

Mistake #1: Waiting to file a report

You’ve been injured at work.  You’ve received the necessary medical care. The last thing you want to think about is filing paperwork.  So you wait a few days, maybe a few weeks until you’re feeling a little bit better.

What you should do:

As soon as you’re able to, file your paper work.  Filing deadline is different for each state. There are usually 2 deadlines: one for your employer and a second for a claim in order to receive benefits. Missing these dates or waiting to start the process can cause you to lose eligibility for those benefits.

Employers may also call your integrity into question. With a less than desirable number of work-related injuries each year, employers are often suspicious when claims are made.

Mistake #2: Not mentioning your injury in the report

You got a bump on the head a few years ago, and last month you may have taken a week off because you hurt your back and needed to recover. No big deal. You’re back to your old self now, and those injuries have nothing to do with your current accident.

What you should do:

This isn’t exclusive to work-related injuries. If you were hurt outside of work — strained a muscle or fell off a ladder while you cleaned the gutters of your home and broke your arm — these should be included. Employers may try to argue your current case was the result of a previous injury, referred to as a Major Contributing Cause (MCC). However, this is much easier to defend than workers’ compensation fraud.

If you fail to report past work-related injuries, you could lose your workers’ compensation benefits and possibly face repayment of compensation already received. Here are some other things you need to know about filing for workers’ compensation.

Be thorough and be consistent.

Even something you deem as a minor detail could help your case, just as any discrepancies could be used against you.

Add the conditions of the environment where you were injured, such as temperature and space, if you were working with any equipment, any coworkers who witnessed your injury, and if there was anything out of the norm.

Mistake #3: Refusing to take a different job with less pay

You’re finally starting to feel like your old self again, the doctor(s) have given you the all-clear, and it’s time to return to work. When you do, your boss may offer you a new job with lighter duties. The problem is it comes with pay that amounts to less than the income received prior to the injury.

What you should do:

Accept the job. Refusal to do so could terminate your position. In order to make a case, you must put forth the effort to prove that even the new duties are too much in order to receive compensation.

Mistake #4: Representing yourself to save on lawyer’s fee

In your mind, the circumstances surrounding your injury look black and white. It’s an open-and-shut case. You’ve collected evidence, put on your good suit, and feel confident that you’ll win your case.

That was before you got to court, when your palms started sweating because legal terminology you don’t understand is being thrown around the room.

What you should do:

Even the seemingly most cut-and-dried cases need legal expertise. Businesses consult with their own legal experts, so it’s a smart decision if you do too. It’s not unlawful to represent yourself, but navigating the law is much easier said than done when you have next to little knowledge.

Regardless of the type of work injury you’ve suffered, you are entitled to full and fair compensation under state law.

If you are hurt on the job, contact the Law Offices of Gerber & Holder for a free consultation.