Should I Always File a Comp Claim If I’m Injured at Work?
In almost all cases, the answer is “yes.” Typically, victims can voluntarily withdraw their claims later, if their attorneys advise them to do so. Additionally, it is illegal to discriminate against people who file workers’ compensation claims. If your employer retaliates against you or takes other adverse action, your employer is in hot water.
Once upon a time, the workers’ compensation system efficiently sped benefits to injured workers. Those days are long gone. Today’s workers’ compensation bureaucracy is dominated by insurance and employer interests. Therefore, unless an experienced Jackson workers’ compensation attorney is on your side, your chances of obtaining fair compensation are slim.
False Employer Promises
Frequently, when workers are injured, their employers promise to pay their medical bills under the table if they do not file claims. Employers do not make such promises to benefit workers. They make such promises to benefit themselves. Claims cause their insurance premiums to increase. If employers pay artificially low premiums, there is less money in the system for you and for other injured workers.
Additionally, these promises are not guaranteed. If the employer doubles back on the promise, as is usually the case, the injured victim could have no legal recourse.
On a related note, misclassification and miscategorization are quite common. Misclassification is labelling employees as independent contractors. Since most workers’ compensation insurance companies charge according to the number of employees, misclassification means lower premium payments. Miscategorization is claiming workers do low-risk jobs, when they actually perform high-risk jobs.
Both these scams artificially lower premium payments. And as mentioned above, that hurts all workers.
Health Insurance Inapplicability
Many injured workers have excellent group health plans. They assume these plans will cover their workplace injuries or occupational diseases, so they do not file workers’ comp claims. That’s almost always a mistake. Group health plans usually do not cover injury-related expenses, largely for liability reasons.
So, if you are hurt and need to see a doctor, do not count on your health insurance. Instead, go see a lawyer. An attorney can arrange for medical care at no upfront cost. Most medical providers agree to defer billing until the workers’ compensation claim is resolved.
Civil Claim for Damages
Workers’ compensation is not always the exclusive remedy for workplace injuries. In some cases, victims might be able to withdraw their comp claims and file civil claims. These victims are eligible for additional compensation on top of money for lost wages and medical bills. Some examples include injuries due to a(n):
- Defective product,
- Negligent co-worker, or
- Employer’s reckless endangerment of worker safety.
This additional compensation usually includes money for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment in life, and other noneconomic losses.
These claims are procedurally different from workers’ compensation claims. Do not attempt to pursue them without an experienced attorney’s help.
Connect with an Assertive Attorney
If you were hurt, don’t hesitate to file a comp claim. For a free consultation with an experienced Jackson workers’ compensation lawyer, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. The sooner you call, the sooner we start working for you.