The past couple of months I’ve met so many injured workers who delayed contacting a workers comp lawyer. Each has his or her own story, but they basically relied on the workers comp insurance adjuster to provide them with information about their rights. What’s wrong with that, you might ask. Representing injured workers and accident victims for the past 20 years, I often think this goes without saying, but it bears repeating. The insurance adjuster works for the insurance company which is interested in maximzing its profits by denying or limiting your workers compensation benefits.
The insurance adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money. How? By denying your claim, denying or limiting your medical treatment and diagnostic testing requested by your doctor. They make doctors jump through so many bureaucratic hoops that many doctors just give up and refuse to treat workers comp patients.
The adjuster assigns a nurse case manger to your case. This is where the wheels can really fall off the bus. Employees misunderstand or confuse the role of the nurse case manager. First, understand this. The nurse case manager is an employee or contractor of the workers comp insurer. The nurse case manager is not your medical provider. Her only role is to micromanage your medical treatment with one goal in mind. Save the insurance company money by denying or strictly limiting your treatment. Her other role is to try to inject herself between you and your doctor to influence your doctor to release you to go back to work oftentimes based on a bogus light duty job offer from your employer which, in reality, doesn’t exist.
After meeting with an injured worker recently, I was astonished that the worker did not know that he could collect partial workers comp benefits while receiving unemployment benefits. When asked why he didn’t contact a workers comp lawyer sooner, the worker replied that he didn’t think that he could afford a lawyer. OMG!!
Under the Massachusetts workers compensation statute (General Laws Chapter 152), attorney’s fees and legal costs are paid by the workers comp insurance company. Injured workers don’t pay attorney’s fees directly to their attorney out of their own money like you would if you hired a lawyer to draft a Will etc.
So, there is no reason and no excuse not to contact an experienced workers compensation lawyer right away. If you are receiving workers comp benefits, you should definitely consult a lawyer to ensure that you are receiving all of the benefits you’re entitled to receive and to investigate whether you may have additional legal claims such as a third party claim.
So, if you’re hurt at work, what should you do? Get a lawyer NOW!!