Navigating the Pitfalls of a Workers Compensation Case
The workman’s compensation (a.k.a. “comp”) system is fraught with problems. If it weren’t then we wouldn’t need worker’s compensation attorneys.
Employers do not want to pay for worker’s compensation claims. Hence; they will do anything to place the blame on the injured party. If you are filing for workman’s compensation then be prepared to have your entire medical history, conditions and present physiology picked through and poked at.
One of the most difficult situations in worker’s compensation law is the time when the injured party has pre-existing and or related conditions. For example, a person working with fumes and airborne chemicals or a situation where foreign matter may be inhaled would have a difficult time making a claim if he was also a smoker. In these situations; a Georgia worker’s compensation attorney is of the utmost importance.
Many employers have standard procedure, rules that mandate drug testing immediately after an employee is injured. Understandably, an employer wants to make sure that the injury was not caused by intoxication.
The trouble is; what happens if a person was injured while intoxicated but by no fault of being intoxicated? An example of this would be if an employee was in a safe area and another employee caused an accident?
An employee under pain management care that is taking prescription opioids; does this mean that they are at fault in every case?
Also, OSHA has enacted regulations in the last few years that have caused employers to lean toward selective drug testing rather than blanket testing. It is not just to pick some employees but not others to be tested after an accident.
Workman’s compensation also can mean random drug testing to ensure levels of medication are in the injured parties’ system.
Say Goodbye to Your Doctor
Obviously, a claim must always be backed by medical evidence. The pressure placed on doctors to make major decisions is huge. A doctor must decide if the employee is injured, if the injury was work related and give a prognosis with an estimate of how long the employee will be injured.
Usually; an IME or Independent Medical Examiner will need to be consulted at the recommendation of an employer’s insurance company. Unfortunately; IME’s are always on an insurance company’s payroll and in a position of benefiting from finding in favor of the employer.
Work Comp Investigation
Be sure to stop doing any kind of yard work or carrying your own groceries. Employers that pay out worker’s compensation in large amounts and on a long term scale will often employ private investigators to follow and spy on the employee in case they are faking it.
Most of us have known these people at one point or another. These are the people that never work but are always working on home projects. “I can’t work but I can lay bricks in my yard, mow my lawn, rake, shovel and carry a wheelbarrow.” To each his own. However; imagine being literally spied on and how creepy that must really feel.
As previously mentioned; workman’s compensation is a complex system in need of a complete overhaul and creation of clearer regulations. Far too much leeway is given to the employers and insurance companies. The stricter limitations on comp have come about over the years for dishonest employees. It is quite the shame that a few bad apples have made it harder for truly injured victims to receive the compensation that they are entitled to. An employee should not have to fight for compensation when they are injured on the job. Yet, a fight is what an employee is in for.