Let us set up the likely facts. If you are reading this, you probably suffered an injury at work and didn't or don’t want to file a workers’ compensation claim. You’ve spoken to your supervisor who is discouraging you from doing so, and likely intimating you could lose your job. Yes, you might lose your job, but not because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. If you’re going to lose your job it will likely be caused by the restrictions placed on your activities after treatment is finished. That’s not something you can control, nor should you try. After all, if it is unsafe for you to be lifting 50 pound boxes after a back surgery, then you shouldn’t try to fool yourself into thinking you’re Superman or Wonderwoman and can do it. So forget the idea that what may happen over the next year or two is something you can predict because you can’t.
Previous clients, before hiring the Lombardi Law Firm, chose to first file with their disability insurer. Great they thought, hun? I know because I've heard it. The thinking goes something like this.
I’ll save my job, get paid a weekly check, control the medical decisions and then hop, skip and jump my way back into my old job with the same pay.
The first hurdle they get to is a simple question on the disability benefits application. “Is this a work injury?” Answer "yes" and you don’t qualify for short or long term benefits. (Unless, the employer is rejecting your workers’ compensation claim.) Answer “no” and you qualify. And so, one client I remember decides to answer no, even though the truth is a big, fat yes. So, what happened that forced him to have to hire us?
He files. For a short period of time he was approved for benefits. And then the disability insured wrote to the doctor and asked for his opinion about whether this was a work-related injury. According to the history it was a work related injury, and that is what the doctor wrote. And no sooner did the insurance company get that report in-hand, then they immediately stopped paying disability benefits. Because normally injured workers are paid by the workers’ compensation program, not the disability insurance program.
So, what happened?
I know what you’re thinking. “Well, then the workers’ compensation insurance company probably just started paying, because now they have a positive medical opinion relating the injury to the work.”
Your answer is not even close to being correct. Because to them that “No” box you checked on the disability application form makes you a liar. A big fat liar. And so why should they believe anything you say about how the injury occurred? You’re a liar. A cheater. A thief. A scumbag. You name it that’s what they think about you.
And what happens is you end up with no pay check and no weekly benefits. [What you might get is a divorce and we aren’t handling those.]
Now do you get it?
When you are injured at work, through work, there is but one choice. You check the work-related box and at the first doctor’s appointment be truthful to a fault.
And if you can, call me before you go to the first appointment so you don’t do or say something you will later regret. You can overthink this whole thing. You do know that don't you?
Sometime in the next few days I will cover one other problem this foolishness creates. And so look for the blog titled: What about notice?
This firm has been helping injured workers for over thirty-five years and we can help you. But first you need to call us.