What documentation can strengthen workers' compensation claims?

Under Alabama's workers' compensation law, workers who suffer occupational injuries or illnesses may be entitled to receive benefits. Workers' compensation benefits can include weekly earnings compensation, in addition to coverage of any hospital, medical or rehabilitation expenses for care that are reasonable and medically necessary, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

It can be important for injured workers to keep documentation and records pertaining to their injury or illness in order to help ensure they receive the benefits they are entitled to. This can be of particular importance in cases when workers must file claims because their employers refused to pay the benefits. The types of records that can help strengthen workers' compensation claims include medical records, as well as a personal diary and letters from family members, friends and co-workers.

Medical records that pertain to their work-related injury or illness is one of the most important types of documentation for employees to keep. This includes doctors' appointment notes, test reports and results, and procedure reports. Medical records can be used to provide detailed medical information about a worker's injury, as well as the professional opinion of any physicians who are participating in treating the injury or illness. It is often necessary to obtain this type of opinion in cases when there is a dispute over the exact cause of an injury or illness, or the condition's severity.

The internal effects of work-related injuries and illnesses, such as psychological issues, pain and lifestyle limitations, can be impactful, but complicated to quantify. Through personal diaries, injured workers are able to put these effects into words. Diaries should include thorough notes about lifestyle adjustments, medications and their side effects, pain and other information relating to the effects of the injuries or illnesses.

Similar to personal diaries, letters from friends and family members can provide valuable insight into how the injury or illness impacts the worker on a daily basis. Letters from co-workers can provide the same types of insights as family and friends, as well as address how the injury affects the worker on the job.

While having thorough documentation can help strengthen workers' compensation claims, the determination of benefits is generally based on the specific circumstances of each case. For that reason, the information contained in this post should be considered only as general information, and not be taken as professional legal advice.

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