Work Related InjuryWe have several clients who, after being injured, found out bout the darker side of reporting the incident. After the injury you may not be viewed by the employer and fellow co-workers in quite the same way. There are many reasons why, but today the important thing to keep in mind is that it happens and how to go about protecting your claim.

Be Careful Of What You Say And Do When Returning To Light-Duty Work.

Here is what happened to one client. He hurt his back lifting some angle iron. He did most everything right and the claim was accepted as work related and the insurance adjuster agreed to pay compensation on a regular basis. He was off work for a couple of months.

Remember, The Doctor Works For The Insurance Company.

No matter how well you think you know the doctor never forget who pays them. The doctors and all other medical personnel working on your case are paid by the workers’ compensation carrier. That means the insurance carrier can talk to them at any point in time. And trust me, they do.

They will tell them things that you won't even know they discussed. What that means is the adjusters talk with the doctors, the doctors listen and you have no chance to challenge the truth of what is being told.

Hidden Conversations Between Insurance Adjusters And Doctors Can Spell Disaster For Your Claim.

Let us say following some treatment the adjuster speaks directly with the doctor about you returning to some form of light duty work.

Your supervisor, the owner or someone in personnel simply want you to return to work, doing any work no matter how menial. This is normally their motivation to speak about you to the doctor. Know this, that if the doctor writes a work release for ‘light duty’ then you are going back to work. And if you don’t you will not be receiving a weekly check.

Our Client Was Released For "Fake" Light Duty Work.

Our client had a serious back injury and was off for months. The employer wanted to force the employee to quit so they created what I believe is a fake light-duty job. It is not really light duty, but the way it was described to the doctor made is seem that way.

The client’s doctor considered the request to return the worker to light duty, and couldn’t say no because as it was being described, it sounded like the right kind of light duty.

But that is where things take an awkward twist and turn.

He showed up and was told to do a job that was anything but light duty...and he was told he had to do it.

Why Did The Employer Really Want The Injured Employee To Return To Work?

They wanted the employee back to work to engage him in idle chatter in order to be able to say he hurt himself somewhere else, other than at his job. This was as far from the truth as you can imagine, but it happened.

Where Do Co-Workers Try To Engage You In Harming Your Claim?

  • In the break room
  • In the parking lot
  • At the fake light-duty work station
  • In the waiting room at the orthopedic surgeon’s office
  • During physical therapy
  • While in the presence of the nurse case manager
  • Anywhere your supervisor engages you
  • On Facebook
  • Out on the deck with your neighbor
  • If seeking retraining, at or after class
  • While standing in line waiting to check out at the grocery store

Before engaging in idle chatter following an injury, ask yourself if you can afford to lose. If you can’t, then perhaps idle chatter isn’t a good idea. Perhaps the best advice is to not talk about your case to anyone with the exception of your spouse, your doctors and your lawyers.

Call Us For Legal Help.

Have you been injured on the job? Contact us online or call us directly at 515.222.110. We take serious injury cases including those with a back injury, surgery, broken bones, head trauma, CRPS, RSDS and other serious injuries. Some clients and cases just aren’t the right fit. But, if yours is, we are here to help.


Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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