Suffering an injury at work can be a painful and expensive ordeal. Aside from costly medical bills, you may also be unable to work, which can put your family’s financial security in jeopardy. Fortunately, when such an injury occurs, workers’ compensation benefits can provide you with the monetary relief you need to properly recover.

To ensure that you receive the maximum possible workers’ compensation benefit, it is important that you prepare a timely and comprehensive claim. What follows are five common mistakes that individuals often make after an injury at work:

1. Failing to report your injury

To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you must report your injury to your employer. From there, you should request medical attention and begin documenting the process. For their part, your employer must also report the injury to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) once you miss more than three days of work.

2. Waiting too long to file your claim

To obtain maximum compensation, you must notify your employer of your injury within 45 days of its occurrence. Because of this limited time frame, it is often prudent to begin a claim when you suspect a developing injury. Some injuries and illnesses take time to surface — it is in your best interests to watch for possible warning signs and symptoms.

3. Failing to seek adequate medical attention

Seeking immediate medical attention is crucial to an effective workers’ compensation claim. Be sure to give your care provider a comprehensive description of your accident and follow their prescriptive orders. Not acting in accordance with your physician’s instructions could jeopardize your claim.

4. Providing insufficient documentation

When submitting a workers’ compensation claim, it is prudent to provide as much detail as possible. Specifics such as the date and location of your injury, how it happened and the treatment you have received are a few compulsory components to a successful claim.

5. Filing a claim without the aid of legal counsel

Workers compensation claims are inherently complex documents. To best position your claim for success, consulting with an experienced attorney can prove useful. Your employer’s insurer also has an interest in paying you as little as possible, so a lawyer who is willing to advocate for you can be especially beneficial.

A workplace injury is a setback, but workers’ compensation benefits can offer valuable assistance. By taking a thorough approach to your claim, you can greatly increase your chances of obtaining the benefits that you deserve.