The process of getting workers’ compensation in Alaska has been problematic lately. More workers continue to receive injuries on the job and find problems with the system. This is especially troublesome as the U.S. Department of Labor recently revealed that Alaska had the highest fatal occupational injury rate of the nation in 2017.
It is important for the state’s workers and families to understand how filing a claim for workers’ compensation works in Alaska with how high the injury rate is. While the system has flaws, there have still been several instances where the worker was at fault for not getting the coverage they needed.
One of the most common mistakes they make is not paying attention to when crucial applications are due. It is imperative to know what you and your insurer’s potential deadlines would be so you can avoid losing compensation and know when someone else is at fault.
The worker’s due dates
Injured Alaskan employees need to file a report of occupational injury or illness within 30 days after they discover the injury. The only times where the deadline might extend is if you do not realize your condition until much later. You also need to receive treatment from a licensed doctor and ask them to forward their report to the company’s insurer within 14 days after the treatment.
If the injury is severe and leaves you with a permanent disability, you may still have the chance to apply for reemployment benefits. Like the initial report, you have 30 days to mail a form if you meet the state’s requirements.
Recently, a seafood processor in Alaska learned about this deadline the hard way after getting a serious back injury. While he did receive the standard workers’ compensation for the incident, he did not get reemployment benefits because he neglected to mail the form for it within 30 days. As a result, Alaska deemed him “noncooperative” and didn’t provide the additional support.
The insurer’s due dates
The company’s insurer also has a list of deadlines they need to fulfill after you prove to require coverage. Their first payment to you is due 14 days after they have knowledge of your injury or death and every subsequent payment will occur every 14 days afterwards. The only time they will provide compensation early is if you had the disability for more than 28 days.
If they are late on one of your payments by 7 days, then they will receive a penalty and owe you an additional 25 percent of the amount. The only way they can avoid this is if they file a controversion notice within 21 days after the initial due date or they prove that something was out of their control. They are also required to pay your medical bills within 30 days of receiving them and could receive a similar penalty if they procrastinate.
Both you and the insurer need to keep these deadlines in mind to ensure a safe recovery. Dealing with a work injury is bad enough, but you shouldn’t be denied what you are rightfully owed in work benefits. Consider contacting an expert in workers’ compensation if you run into any issues with the process.