February 19, 2020

How to Protect Yourself from False Information About Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

You would not believe some of the outrageous statements made to my clients from their supervisors after reporting a work injury:

  • “Workers compensation only covers back injuries” (no, it covers any injury part of your body)
  • “you must report your on the job injury within 3 hours” (no, you have 30 days to report your injury)
  • “it doesn’t matter that you were unconscious/disoriented due to a concussion/in an ambulance – whatever you said or didn’t say immediately after your accident controls what you can pursue under workers comp” (no, you are not bound by statements made when you are not in your right mind)

This is just a taste of the misinformation I have heard about over the past 30 years.

The truth is that workers’ compensation in Georgia is extremely adversarial. Other than divorce law, I doubt that any area of the law is a bruising and contested as work injury law.

If you were not already aware of this, you should know that business owners hate workers compensation claims, even if the injured worker is a long time, trusted, “like family” employee. When a company owner or supervisor learns that you have filed a work injury claim, his reaction will be something like this:

  • “great, now my insurance costs will be going up”
  • “how are we going to to maintain production with a key employee out of work”
  • “should I hire a replacement or do I have to keep this position open and work shorthanded for weeks or months at a time”
  • “we have no light duty here – what am I supposed to do if this employee is released back to light duty work?”
  • “everybody knows that most workers’ compensation claims are fraudulent. I am going to fight this claim every step of the way”

And then there’s the battle you don’t even know you are fighting. Assuming your employer does report your claim properly, a claims file will be opened at your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.

Insurance adjusters are likely to be even more hostile to your claim. They don’t know you or anything about your employment history or quality of work. All they know is that you are a claim number and the goal is to make your case go away for as little money as possible.

Often these claims adjusters will send you to physicians who get all their business from work injury claims. Hint: any medical facility with the words “industrial clinic” in it is probably bad news.

I regularly do battle with insurance adjusters who refuse to authorize needed medical tests like MRIs or CT scans, refuse to authorize specialists, delay treatment, delay issuing weekly wage checks, and delay issuing mileage reimbursement checks.

So, what should you do if you are hurt on the job? First, be very careful about trusting anything said to you by your employer, your HR manager or any insurance adjustor. Sometimes the misinformation is due to ignorance or lack of training, and sometimes the misinformation is intentional.

Second, do not assume that you will be treated fairly simply because you have been a loyal, hard working employee for years. That history does not matter once you have filed a workers’ compensation claim.

Third, do not assume that all doctors are equally qualified or that because there is an “M.D.” after their name that they have your best interests at heart. Doctors who get most or all of their referrals from workers compensation insurance companies will often generate reports highly biased in favor of the insurance company’s financial interest and they may tell you one thing, but write something completely different in their reports.

Fourth, you should not go through this process alone. Obviously I hope you will reach out to me to discuss your case. But whether you call me or another qualified workers’ compensation lawyer, I urge you not to go into battle alone. Even the savviest of claimants is at a disadvantage if you don’t know what is supposed to happen, or if you don’t know who is who within the medical community in Georgia.

I do handle cases from deserving claimants throughout the state of Georgia, so if I can be of assistance to you, please call me at 770-351-0801 or fill out the form on this page.

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Jodi Ginsberg

Attorney Jodi Ginsberg represents employees who are injured on the job and who need medical care and missed wage benefits available under Georgia's workers' compensation laws.

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