Top 10 Injured Worker Mistakes
This is a list of the Top 10 Injured Worker Mistakes made by injured workers. The insurance company is in the business of minimizing losses (or paying the least they can on your claim). However, these are big businesses and they won’t hesitate to challenge your case at every opportunity. Don’t give them the opportunity to deny you benefits by making any of these mistakes.
1. Miss Doctor’s Appointments
Stay organized! If you have an appointment with a doctor, make sure you attend. If you appear uncooperative, the insurance company will note this.
2. Not Communicating With Your Attorney
Your attorney needs as much information from you as possible. When you have doctor’s appointments or have any changes in your condition, I need to know. The more information I have, the better I can represent you.
This should go without saying…don’t lie. Ever. Whether under oath (pejury) or not. Sometimes injured workers are afraid people are not going to take them seriously so they exaggerate or even lie. It’s understandable you want someone to take you seriously, but don’t ever lie. If you lie about prior injuries or claims or how much you are hurting, the insurance company will find out….and your case will be seriously compromised or completely finished. Don’t do it. You could be prosecuted for fraud.
4. Refusing to Try a Light Duty Job or Return to Work
Sometimes your employer will have a light duty job available for you to do. You may or may not feel ready to give it a try but you should at least attempt it for one day. If you are not on benefits, a refusal to try it will look like you don’t want to return to work. If you are on benefits and don’t attempt it, your benefits can be cut off.
5. Not Disclosing Prior Injuries
It may be hard to remember every injury but you need to try. If you have a history of a prior injury to the same body part injured at work, the insurance company will definitely try to use this as an argument that your injury is due to “preexisting conditions.” Therefore, you must disclose any prior injuries or medical treatment as early on it the case. I can’t represent you to the best of my abilities if I don’t have all the facts from the beginning.
6. Appearing Angry or Not Cooperative at Your Deposition
The insurance company’s attorney will likely want to take your deposition, which is a taking of your statement under oath, with a court reporter present. This is a chance for them to get additional information about your case. It’s also a time for them to see how you would be a witness if the case went to a hearing “court.” If you come across as unreasonable or uncooperative, it will hurt your case.
7. Don’t Return to the Doctor for an Extended Period of Time
The doctor may not have anything to offer or you may be waiting for surgery authorization but it is still important to follow up with your doctor on a regular basis. If you don’t, the insurance company will argue that you really aren’t all that injured if you aren’t even seeing a doctor.
8. Hiring an Attorney That Promises You the Most Money
You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing an attorney. You may meet with attorneys that promise you certain amounts of money for settlement. Unfortunately, an attorney just meeting or speaking with you for the first time simply cannot predict or promise you a certain amount of money for settlement. There is no way of knowing, in that little time, how much they could “get” for your case. Beware.
9. Having Unrealistic Expectations About Your Case
I have been a workers’ compensation attorney for over a decade. Workers’ compensation cases are different than personal injury cases that might result from a car accident. There is no “pain and suffering” awarded. Most cases will not be “millions of dollars.” As your case moves along, I have a very good idea of what the insurance company may or may not offer for settlement. If you are unrealistic about your expectations the insurance company will be less likely to offer a fair settlement.
10. Jumping from Attorney to Attorney
There may be times that you feel you are not getting adequate representation from your attorney and it’s time to make a change to a different attorney. However, if you keep jumping from attorney to attorney may be perceived as “difficult” and “unreasonable” by the insurance company or even a judge.
Contact Beth Gearhart Today
The list of Top 10 Injured Worker Mistakes can serve as a starting point, but if you are injured and need legal advice, please contact a workers’ compensation attorney in Georgia like Beth Gearhart who listens and cares about her clients at (404) 445-8370 or fill out the contact form for a callback today.