Workers’ compensation cases are not easy cases to handle, unless you have a good grasp of how the system operates. There are so many pitfalls to this technically challenging system of awarding compensation to injured workers that it’s nearly an oxymoron to say it was ever intended to quickly and efficiently keep injured workers from suing the employers. The cases are heard before an agency administrative law judge, not a district court judge, but that’s about the easiest thing there is to them.
Today let’s assemble a quick list of how you can ruin the chances you have of receiving compensation.
- If you speak without thinking and without a complete understanding of the facts you run the risk of giving the impression the injury either didn’t happen at work or happened in a way that is different than you’ve previously said, creating the impression you were either lying then or are lying now. When workers think they aren’t one of those other people with a frivolous lawsuit they make the mistake of understanding their own prejudice against people that file workers’ compensation claims. In the eyes of the insurance industry every injured worker has a frivolous lawsuit. So get used to it.
- Not reporting the injury to your supervisor within 90 days is a technical requirement of every workers’ compensation case. It’s the law and if you miss doing it I don’t care how seriously injured you may be if you miss this reporting deadline your case is dead in the water.
- Trusting the insurance company adjuster and the case manager. These are not your friends; they are people who have a goal of paying you as little as possible. Most people would agree with that goal, until they figure out what it means is they don’t care if they pay you everything the law requires, they’d rather not. They’d rather not because it doesn’t fit in with the goal of paying you as little as possible. It has nothing to do with your case being frivolous; but if the insurance industry can convince the general public that all claims are frivolous that does fit in with their goal of paying as little as possible.
- Not seeking legal advice is a sure fire way to end up with a wet noodle for a case. There are a few injured workers who have always wanted to be a lawyer, have watched TV shows about law and this is their one big chance to impress an insurance adjuster just how smart they are. Wrong! You aren’t a lawyer, you can’t practice law and as a make-believe lawyer you have a fool for a client. Hire a practicing lawyer not a “I watched lawyers on TV and it looks easy” lawyer.
- Five is about all I can do today although there are well over 100 ways to ruin this case, your case, your claim, your right to be paid while off of work so let’s get to the last one. The fifth and today’s final way to ruin your case is to not follow the doctor’s instructions or attempting to go back to work before you’re released.