The Legal Burden of Proof & Why It Matters in Your Workers’ Compensation Case

A person with an injury hand filling out workers' compensation paperwork

You may already be familiar with the term “legal burden of proof.” But do you understand what it means? In the world of workers’ compensation, it means that the burden falls on you, as an injured worker, to prove you were injured on the job. That’s right—even if you’re in terrible pain following a work accident and you have witnesses who saw you hurt yourself while on the job, it still falls on you to definitively prove that you were actually injured. This is why we like to call the burden of proof “insult to injury.”

So, since it falls on you—by law—to prove that your diagnosis is valid and related to an on the job injury, what can you do to ensure you receive workers’ comp benefits? Attorney Charles L Powell of explains why the burden of proof is so important in workers’ compensation cases.

Why the Burden of Proof Matters So Much

If you are able to prove your injury resulted from a work accident, your employer’s insurance company must pay for your medical care. Insurance companies are never happy about this. They would rather not be financially responsible for costly medical bills, so they will try to prove that your evidence is no good. They may even hire an independent medical examiner to testify against you. Please watch the video below for more details.

When it comes to workers’ compensation claims, especially those involving serious injuries and costly medical care, it is often your word against the insurer’s, and they are backed up by their own legal team. This is why you must do your best to secure evidence proving your work-related injury or illness as soon as possible.

How to Establish the Burden of Proof

Fortunately, there is a simple way to show that your injury happened exactly as you say it did. All you have to do is be a clear communicator when you go to the doctor. By visiting the doctor as soon as you can after your work accident, independent medical evidence will be prepared by the provider, which will usually include how your injury happened.

This is because after interviewing you, hearing your story, and conducting a physical examination, your doctor will give you a work-injury-related diagnosis and assign you a treatment plan, all of which will go into your medical records. During your first doctor visit after your accident, your physician or nurse will want to know what happened.

Be as detailed as possible with your doctor about how your accident occurred, including:

  • What exactly caused the accident
  • Where the accident occurred
  • Where on your body you have the injury
  • Your best description of your injury symptoms
  • How your injury is affecting you (especially if you are limited in doing dishes, using stairs, or other tasks)

Your doctor or nurse will take down this information and put it in your medical records. Medical information for developing (a) the current diagnosis and (b) the most effective treatment plan to get you better is now part of your medical record. The medical record is then going to be obtained by the workers’ compensation insurer.

The insurer will read the medical record to decide whether to accept your case and pay. The record proves that you were examined by a doctor and prescribed treatment for your work-injury-related diagnosis, meaning that you now have very powerful medical information to establish your burden of proof!

This is why it is so important to go to a doctor following a work accident. Not only will a medical professional be able to treat your injury with care and help you return to health, but in the process, the provider’s record will also establish tangible medical evidence that will help with your claim. For more information, watch the video below.

We hope that you now understand the importance of the legal burden of proof! If you have any questions or would like to speak with an attorney about your claim, contact the Law Office of Charles L Powell, PLLC today at (802) 731-0154.

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