Many employers will do just about anything to save a buck, even if it means sacrificing employee well-being. If that weren’t the case, there’d be no need for workers compensation lawyers or lawsuits.
Some tricks are common and even expected. You can watch out for them if you’ve taken the time to educate yourself about New Jersey workers compensation law.
Trick #1: Misreporting
After you report your injury to your employer you should receive a First Report of Injury form back from the insurance company. It’s important to scrutinize this document closely to ensure the facts listed on the document match the facts of your case.
Don’t just look at the injury description, since employers sometimes misreport wages too. This is especially common in cases where employees often work overtime. The employers “forget” to include that overtime when calculating average weekly wages.
Trick #2: Failing to Report the Injury Fast Enough
You are responsible for reporting the claim to your employer right away. Your employer is responsible for making the claim with workers compensation.
Some fail to do so fast enough, delaying the process and giving the workers compensation insurance company leverage to deny the claim. Some fail to do it at all, and claim you never reported the injury to them.
Some will try to convince you they shouldn’t report the injury, assuring you they’ll pay your medical bills out of pocket instead of filing the claim. They may even channel you to on-site clinics with doctors who will try to claim you’re fine to return to work and don’t have a significant injury, even when that’s patently untrue.
Unfortunately nothing binds the employer to that claim. The employer may even drag things out long enough to take things past the statute of limitations, and you’ll be left holding the bag.
Trick #3: Implying or Threatening Retaliation
Remember, you can’t legally be fired for filing a workers compensation claim. If your employer threatens to retaliate then you should reach out to a workers compensation attorney right away.
Trick #4: Playing Games with Light Duty
We’ve seen employers claim a light duty job is available only for employees to learn it isn’t light at all. We’ve also seen employers try to ramp up light duty tasks into your regular job before you are ready. They might tell you not to do anything heavy and then create circumstances that force you to do just that, just to try to back you into a position where you can get fired for cause.
Again, these are both excellent reasons to contact a workers compensation attorney. As are attempts to render your job so unpleasant that you feel pressured to quit.
Remember, you have rights.
Employers try to use psychological intimidation, underhanded tactics, and other methods to try to avoid paying your wage loss benefits. We expect to see more of these tactics as Covid-19 continues to put financial strain on the economy. Don’t fall for them.
Hiring a workers compensation attorney gives you a way to fight back. You can call, check the employer’s claims with a skilled advocate, and then push back in a way that doesn’t hurt your case.
We are working remotely during the Covid-19 crisis, so call our offices if you’d like to schedule a free consultation.