Avoiding Pitfalls in your Workers’ Comp Case

Sometimes when a new client gets to me for their work-related injury, they have not avoided a pitfall in workers comp case and have done significant damage to their case. As stated in several articles on this Blog, workers’ compensation law is quite complex. That is why most workers’ compensation attorneys practice exclusively in workers’ compensation. The process and litigation are complex. It is not just based on fact driven evidence, but more so medical evidence that usually includes the testimony of doctors. Insurance carriers assign an attorney to watch and make recommendations on your case. You should be protected to!

Going it alone in a complex area of law with a hostile insurance carrier is extremely risky. What can you do to avoid pitfalls in your case? Here are some pitfalls to avoid.

1. First is notice. We have spoken to notice many times and here is a link for further discussion. Notice means providing notice to your employer of the occurrence of a work-related injury. It does not matter that your employer ‘should have known’ about your injury, it matters whether you reported the injury within the statutory guidelines.
2. Request an accident report from your employer after providing notice. First, it provides evidence of the injury because the report will be on the date of injury or close to it. Second, it supports your testimony that you provided notice of injury to your employer. Finally, it refreshes your memory as to what happened specifically the day you were injured. If your employer or supervisor refuses to complete an incident report, call Mooney Law right away.
3. Treat for your injury. Seek immediate medical attention and advise the doctor how you were hurt, what you were doing when you were hurt, and specifically what body parts were injured, no matter how serious they are at the time. These medical records become crucial in your case.
4. Always speak to your doctor about a work disability or light duty note prior to leaving your doctor appointment. Again, these are absolutely critical to your entitlement to wage loss benefits.
5. Do not exaggerate your symptoms or how the injury occurred. The facts will come out. As far as exaggerating your symptoms, your doctor will know if you are exxagerating and will document it in the record. That can cripple your case from the start.
6. Disclose, disclose, disclose. When you treat with your doctor, if you had ANY prior injury to the body part injured, tell your doctor. Tell your doctor when it happened, what happened, whether you recovered, and if not, how your symptoms are now different. Same goes with the insurance carrier, although you should not do a recorded statement without an attorney. Pre-existing injuries or conditions ARE NOT a bar to benefits. Lack of disclosure though can defeat a case.
7. Keep quiet. What? Do not discuss your work injury with co-workers and do not post about it in social media. First, co-workers often testify as fact witnesses. Remember who pays them. Though you think you are friends, trust yourself only. Second, remember, what you post on social media is public, no matter if you make it private later. The insurance carrier will perform an investigation search and find it. Social media information is admissible as evidence.
8. Provide disability slips to your employer. Just because you treat with a doctor does not mean your employer knows you have treated and certainly does not mean your employer knows of your work restrictions or out of work status. The onus is on you to provide work notes to your employer

These are just common pitfalls. There are more. That is why going it alone and dealing with your employer, their insurance carrier, and their attorney is not a smart idea. Avoid the pitfalls. Call Mooney Law right when you are injured to schedule an absolutely FREE consultation. What does it cost you? Simple. We are contingency. That means we only get paid if we recover for you. Call us today at 717-200-HELP or 717-632-4656. You can also email us direct to schedule a consultation at info@mooney4law.com. Finally visit us on the web at Mooney4Law.com to schedule a consultation.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.