Today’s blog post comes from lawyer Thomas Domer, who is an advocate for injured workers through Domer Law Firm in Milwaukee, and he also teaches the workers’ compensation course at Marquette University. He writes about a talk he gave in New Orleans regarding three important tips for people making a workers’ compensation claim. These tips generally apply in Nebraska and Iowa, but workers’ compensation laws vary by state. So please speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have questions about specifics regarding your experiences. Have a safe, productive day.
I just returned from New Orleans where I made a presentation to about 150 workers’ compensation lawyers (both for workers and for employers) on “Case and Client Evaluation In Workers’ Compensation”.
Since many in the audience represented insurance companies and employers, I paid particular attention to their response to my presentation. As one would expect, their best chance to win a case on behalf of the employer and insurance carrier occurs when several items come into play:
When there is no actual report of the injury. [Worker’s Tip: No matter how small the work injury, make sure it is reported in some fashion – cell phone, voice recording, or Accident Report and the worker keeps a copy (BEST).]
Failure to report that a work injury occurred to the first treating practitioner (whether Emergency Room, employer-directed medical facility, hospital, or primary care physician). The single most difficult hurdle in a workers’ compensation claim involving a traumatic injury occurs when no report of the injury is found in the initial medical record.
In “Occupational Exposure” cases, no discussion with the doctor about work duties or prior incidents. (In Wisconsin, a worker can recover for workers’ compensation in one of two ways:
A traumatic injury where a single incident has caused the disability (lifting a box, falling, etc.)
Occupational Exposure, where the wear and tear of a worker’s job causes the disability over time. In this latter category, workers routinely do not indicate with any kind of specificity the type of work they perform when they see the doctor.
These three tips can help us as workers’ compensation lawyers win claims, more so than any “Clarence Darrow” court room techniques or strategies.
Truckers especially need to pay attention to this blog post. Most states require you to provide notice of your work injury to your employer as soon as is practicable. Failing to do so might prevent you from getting workers’ compensation benefits.
Because truckers are always on the go, sometimes they may not remember to report their injuries right away. Instead, maybe the trucker will simply finish the route and decide to get checked out later, completely forgetting to inform the employer. This can become a problem later and potentially could give your employer a reason to deny paying work comp benefits or paying for treatment for your work injury. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common mistake, as pointed out on one of the firm’s websites, www.truckerlawyers.com.
The moral of the story is if you’re hurt, tell your employer immediately. Communicate via your Qualcomm, call in, radio, email, or do whatever it takes, even if you have to call from the doctor’s office. Even if your injury seems insignificant at first, you’ll still want to give your employer notice. You’ll be better off in the long run.
In Nebraska, being fired for reporting your injury is against the law.
Many Nebraskan workers that have been injured on the job have probably had similar thoughts given today’s economy. However, there are protections for injured workers from getting fired for reporting a workers’ compensation injury. In fact, if you are fired for reporting a work injury, you may be entitled to damages as a result of your termination.
Nebraska is an “at will” employment state. In other words, you may be fired for any reason unless you have an employment contract or you are fired in a discriminatory or retaliatory manner.
You may also be able to recover damages from your employer for being fired for retaliation from your employer.
For example, most people know that you cannot be fired on the basis of: Race, Religion, Ethnicity, Disability, Age, or Gender. If you are fired for these reasons, there are Federal and State laws to allow you to sue your employer.
On the other hand, not everyone knows that you may also be able to recover damages from your employer for being fired for retaliation from your employer. Continue reading →