When you suffer an injury on the job, you can start the workers’ compensation claims process by alerting your employer to the injury. This should be all you have to do to start the process. Your employer has a responsibility to report your injury so that you can begin getting the proper compensation. However, it does not always work this way.
According to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, you may have a situation where you do not agree with your employer about your injury and your right to workers’ compensation benefits. If this occurs, then you can file a claim. Filing a claim allows you to get a hearing where The Division of Workers’ Compensation will hear your case and make a decision on the issues at hand. You can file an informal claim or a formal claim.
A formal claim allows you to have a hearing in front of a judge. It proceeds similarly to a court case. You do have the option to settle the case outside of court, but if you do not, the judge will make a final decision. You may choose to file a formal claim if you are having a hard time discussing your concerns with your employer or you feel your employer will not treat you fairly in a settlement.
An informal claim also allows you to go to court, but the judge’s decisions are not binding. It is more informal, hence the name. You and your employer will discuss the issues and negotiate to try to reach a final decision. The judge will serve as a guide and make suggestions on the claim. An information claim is an option if you feel like you need to discuss issues further but that you can eventually reach an agreement with your employer.