Are You Being Scammed Out of Full Benefits in Your Workers’ Comp Claim?
Workers Compensation can be a tricky claim when you consider all of the factors. At times they can be a relatively short process, where others can stretch out over the course of a year or more. In order to protect yourself and make sure you are receiving the full benefits needed, there are a few things to consider every step of the way.
What can your employer do to make sure your report doesn’t go anywhere?
Employers can deny a report was ever filed or an injury ever occurred. This is why you need to get everything documented in writing and make copies of this information. A paper trail will save you in the long run in the event that you need to provide proof of any of the documentation. For example, if you slip and injure your knee in the warehouse, the first thing you should do is report it to your supervisor. If you only report this verbally and the incident is never formally documented, that employer can deny anything ever happened.
Hypothetically let’s assume the employer denies that your report is sufficient grounds for documentation. It is then your duty to begin creating a paper trail and perhaps contacting the next supervisor on the chain of command. Often times, your direct supervisor may fear being reprimanded by their boss, so are hesitant to file a report. When in reality, someone in upper management may be more eager to file a report than risking a lawsuit that may tarnish the company’s reputation.
Are the workers’ comp doctors on your side?
The short answer is no. Doctors are still legally bound to provide patients with the best advice, service, and care possible. But, that doesn’t alter the fact that they still work for your employer and potentially serve their interests. These doctors are often times referred to by employers as well as repeat users by the company. So, imagine if the doctor was repeatedly costing the company mass amounts by working in favor of the employee that is injured – they would not receive their business going about treatment in that manner. So, in order to stay in business with the companies by referral, the doctors can be nearly forced to work in favor of the employer. This does not, however, indicate that the doctors will be committing any sort of malpractice. So, if you are positive the doctor is not doing all that they can to assist you, push back and request additional testing and different types of medication. If they won’t work for you, you might need to take matters into your own hands.
Can you get fired for filing a claim?
Ethically, no. Does it happen? Yes. Companies oftentimes show their true colors when they are exposed and vulnerable. We have found that many employers will try to dig up old dirt to “ethically” be able to terminate you in the event of a claim. Late arrivals, no-shows, write-ups, etc. are all things that can come back to haunt you.
Are drug tests used in claims?
Yes! These can be an issue for two reasons. One, you can be terminated from your position if the employee handbook indicates a no exception policy for testing positive. Next, your workers’ comp claim will conclude as a result of your termination. Likely if you were under the influence of anything (drugs, alcohol, etc.) at the time of the incident, that would also qualify as grounds for termination and claim cancellation.
As a general rule of thumb, use your best judgment. If you get a papercut, you probably should not file a claim as it does not require medical attention or impact your ability to perform in the workplace. But if an injury is disrupting your performance, take the steps above into action to protect your ability to make a living!
As always, Brown & Crouppen’s consultations on these issues are free, so contact us today if you need assistance in your situation.