In order to file a New Hampshire workers’ compensation claim, you must notify your employer, seek medical treatment, and submit a series of forms. Eligible workers may receive medical treatment, compensation for wage loss, and other assistance.
The Workers’ Compensation Division oversees all New Hampshire workers’ comp claims. By law, most employers must have workers’ compensation coverage. Employers typically obtain coverage either by purchasing a workers’ comp policy from an insurance company or receiving certification from the state to self-insure.
Depending on the severity of your injuries and the facts of your claim, benefits may include:
However, you cannot receive compensation for your pain and suffering. Additionally, workers’ comp is your exclusive remedy against your employer and its insurance company. (You typically cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against them.) However, you may have a “third party” lawsuit if someone else’s carelessness caused your injuries (other than a coworker). To learn more, see our article on suing outside of workers’ comp.
To be eligible for workers’ comp in New Hampshire, you must report your injury to your employer within two years of the date of injury or within two years of discovering an occupational disease's connection to work. However, for smooth processing of your claim, it's best to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible.
You must report your injury in writing, using a Notice of Accidental Injury or Occupational Illness form (Form 8aWCA) provided by your employer. A Notice of Accidental Injury details:
Your employer should also allow you to get necessary medical treatment. Under New Hampshire law, you typically can choose your treating physician. Within ten days of your appointment, the doctor must complete a Workers’ Compensation Medical Form. This form discusses your diagnosis, treatment plan, and work restrictions.
When you see a doctor, it is important to give accurate information about the cause of your injuries and the severity of your symptoms. Insurance companies rely heavily on initial medical records when they evaluate claims. Either downplaying or exaggerating your symptoms may result in a denial of benefits.
Once you report your injury, your employer must send a First Report of Injury to its insurance company within five days of your notice. The insurance company will investigate your claim and determine your eligibility for benefits. Its investigation may involve:
In New Hampshire, the insurance company must either approve or deny your claim within 21 days. If approved, you should start receiving benefits shortly. If your claim is denied, you will receive a written notice.
If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal. You must request a hearing in writing within 18 months of the insurance company’s denial. It may be in your best interest to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer at this point. Most workers’ comp appeals require extensive legal and medical expertise. It can be difficult for injured workers to develop and present their claims without assistance. To learn more, see our article on when you should hire a workers’ comp lawyer