How employers threaten and intimidate injured workers to not file a work injury claim
In Georgia, workers’ compensation laws are in place to protect both workers and employers by providing insurance that covers most injuries that occur while on the job.
Workers’ compensation generally covers all medical care necessary to recover from the injury and covers a portion of your weekly wage, as well as some other expenses such as travel expenses for you to get to and from the doctor.
This financial protection ensures that you receive the medical care you need and have some of your income coming in while recovering from your injury. This policy also protects your employer from paying high medical expenses and wage benefits when an employee is injured, or from being sued by the injured employee.
Sounds like the perfect insurance plan for both employers and workers, right?
Unfortunately, some employers don’t see it that way and actively discourage their employees from making claims.
How employers threaten injured workers
While it’s not ethical for a business to discourage an injured worker from filing a workers’ compensation claim, some employers will try to discourage you from seeking benefits when you have been injured. Some of the tactics most commonly used include:
- Threatening to fire, demote or otherwise make your job position miserable if you claim insurance benefits when injured
- Threatening to sue you for defamation
- Offering a lump sum payment at the time of injury that is supposed to be used for medical coverage and wage replacement
- Delaying the filing of an incident report or failing to notify the insurance company so that the claim is automatically denied because of the time limits
- Limiting medical care providers to make it impossible to get the medical care necessary for your injury
How insurance companies discourage workers from making claims
Although workers’ comp insurance is purchased by businesses to protect their employees, many insurance companies will deny, delay or undervalue insurance claims to protect their company’s profits.
Some of the tactics that these insurance companies use include:
- Denying claims based on the reports not being filled out correctly
- Delaying approvals to discourage you from continuing to seek compensation
- Limiting medical care to specific providers which have the insurance company’s best interest in mind, not the injured party
- Denying medical care that they feel is not necessary, although a medical care provider deemed the treatment necessary
- Harassing you with phone calls and other correspondence until you stop the claim just to stop the harassment
- Failing to issue pay replacement benefits, forcing you to return to work early
When you are injured at work, seek legal representation
Work-related injuries present many challenges. Not only are you facing physical injury and the discomfort and pain that comes with that, but you are also facing financial instability due to the loss of your income.
Having workers’ comp insurance protection is the only thing that helps you get the medical care you need and a portion of your income to help until you’re recovered.
When employers use bully tactics to keep employees from making a claim or insurance companies play games to delay or deny benefits, your suffering increases.
Workers’ compensation laws are in place for a reason. It is not right or legal for employers to inflict additional suffering on their employees by denying them the ability to make a claim.
Insurance companies that sell workers’ comp policies are obligated to honor the terms of their policies and provide the employees with the benefits that they are entitled to under these guidelines. Acting in any other manner is considered an act of bad faith.
If you have been injured while performing your job duties, it will always be in your best interest to seek legal representation from a workers’ compensation attorney near you who is knowledgeable in such matters. Having an attorney manage your claim will provide you many benefits, including the peace of mind in knowing that you will be treated fairly by the insurance company and get the benefits you are entitled to under the law.
Our team at Gerber & Holder Law is highly experienced in this area. In one of our past cases, our client was a woman who fell and hurt her back at work. Initially, her employer fought the claim and even threatened to sue her for defamation, but we made sure the case was accepted and the woman now receives weekly checks.