The Injured Workers Trap

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Everyone worries about their job and generally wants to be a good employee. So, you strain your back, lifting a box at work.  No big deal. It will be better tomorrow.  UI think we have all been there, and it generally gets better.  You shrug it off and finish the day.

The next morning there is a lot of pain in your back.  You pop a few Tylenol and head to work. Throughout the day, if it bothers you, it is not too bad.  At the end of the day, you tell your boss, and the boss thanks you for the information.  The boss asks you to keep it on the low down since he doesn’t want his workers’ comp insurance premium to increase. He even says why don’t you see my chiropractor, and the boss will pay. He tells you not to let the chiropractor know you were injured at work and make up some other reason.

You visit the chiropractor, and things are going fairly well.  The boss has paid the bills, and you have saved your boss a lot of money!

About two months later, your boss seems to be nagging at you for still treating you. Maybe it is just your perception.

That weekend you get up in the morning and can barely move.  Your back is killing you.  You call your boss but get voice mail.  Your spouse is worried and tells you she is taking you to urgent care. You want to tough it out but reluctantly go.  You are having pains across your buttock and shooting down your leg.

The urgent care has you sign in, and you state you are unsure how it happened.  They ask for your private insurance, and you give them the card.  They take x-rays but see no issues.  The doctor does some basic orthopedic testing and thinks you may have a herniated disc that is impinging on a nerve root.

The doctor orders an MRI and gives you an off-work slip.  On Monday, you call in to work and let them know you cannot make it in due to your medical condition.  Your boss is not happy.

You show up for the MRI and fill out the papers.  The bill is $1,200.00, but you have not met your deductible.   You leave a VM for your boss because you do not have the money to cover the bill.  You do not get a callback and finally put it on a credit card.

You bring the bill to work, and the boss avoids you and finally gives it to the secretary.

The orthopedic specialist has bad news. It looks like multiple herniated discs require surgery and several weeks off work, and he puts you off work immediately.  The next day you take the note to your boss, who is unpleased. You ask about payment of time off and medical. He says he will get back to you.

You stay home per the doctor’s note. After several days you call work about your sick pay and the surgery, and they tell you That you were let go for “NO CALL NO SHOW” Now you are puzzled and pissed off.

You hire an attorney, and they file your claim.  The insurance company denies your claim.  

The denial is based upon the chiropractor’s note and your intake documents, not mentioning a work injury.  They deny your case because you did not file a report of the injury within 30 days of the accident. Additionally, the urgent care notes do not mention work.

You know you have an ace in the hole because the day you were injured, you were working with Joe. Joe is a long-term employee and a great guy and has been there so long he is at the top of the pay scale.  At Joe’s deposition, he does not remember any incident.  He is not willing to go against his employer or his paycheck. 

Believe it or not, we have represented many clients with this exact story.  

The moral of the story is to:  always report an accident within 30 days of the accident.  Do so in writing and be specific as to the date, time, and place. Make sure to say it happened at work.  We see people tell their boss they hurt their back and need time off but fail to say it was at work.  For all the boss knows, you hurt your back playing softball and cannot work.

Be honest, and report your injury to get the care you need, the time you are owed, and a settlement. For legal help, give our workers comp lawyer a call.

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