Workers Comp Can Be Frustrating - But We Can Help
It's easy to feel that way if you have had a serious work injury. The entire process is extremely frustrating. You are dealing with the physical effects of the injury - doctors visits, rehab, therapy, and probably anxious about your financial future as well. I've heard people talk about feeling overwhelmed because workers' comp affects a persons life in many ways, especially if it is a serious injury. You may be out of work, and worried about the future. On top of that you may be feeling helpless to return to work, bored and restless at home, and worried that you are going to lose your job.
If you are on workers' comp, you cannot receive benefits AND be working (unless it is light duty and you are receiving partial workers' comp benefits - the workers comp insurance company told you about this, right)? Which means that if the doctor has you completely out of work for a work injury you have to STAY out of work for as long as your doctor says. And that can be extremely frustrating for someone who is used to working with their hands, and being active. And not everyone has a transferrable skill set that they can turn into a more sedentary way to bring in income. Someone who is on workers' comp for a serious injury may end up being "laid up" for a long period of time.
Okay, you're saying, we know all the bad news.
What is the good news?
The good news is that you are not the first person to go through this, so please don't feel alone. If the insurance company has denied or delayed your benefits, financially, you may have to prioritize. Obviously the mortage comes first but what comes after that? Be proactive with your bills and let them know about your change in income. See if there is anything you can consolidate, or eliminate. If you have family that can help, ask them. If you have a spouse that can adjust, see if that works.
And what if you can't go back to your regular job because of your injury, or the injury forces you to retire? Try to open your mind to a new business endeavor, or developing some contacts for freelance work. We have seen more than one client turn lemons into lemonade by starting a new business. Ask youself; what have I always wanted to do? Why can't I pursue it now? (You can - we've helped many of the people we represent do just that with their workers' comp settlement).
Also, you cannot legally be fired for being on workers' comp, so if you are worried about that, don't be. Although if you are in an "at will" employment relationship your employer can let you go for any legal reason. But that doesn't mean your workers' comp claim ends - it continues even if you are fired or your job replaces you.
Next, try very hard to allow your recovery to be your number one priority. Attend every medical appointment, communicate with your attorney, take notes on your own recovery, be your own number-one advocate. One of the things that is hard when you've worked your whole life is boredom so try not to let yourself get too idle. Pursue a hobby you haven't had time for before. Take a free class at the library. Learn a new skill that might help you down the road.
And be careful that you follow your doctor's orders no matter what you are doing. The workers comp insurance company can and will follow you to make sure that you are not "faking" your injury. Those who are used to being very active may have a hard time with this, but it's very important to take your own recovery slowly and very seriously. Stick to your doctor's orders 100 % of the time.
Finally, make space in your mind for adjustments. You may not be able to go back to the same job. You may need to grieve your job; this is totally normal. We've seen folks in heavy-duty positions who haven't been able to go back to the job that they love and that's very difficult emotionally. Allow yourself to grieve, and try to look at this as a new opportunity.
And remember, you are not alone! If you've had a serious work injury and you are worried about how to pay your mortgage, give us a call. We can at least take the headache out of the process, and protect your rights so that you are receiving benefits checks and timely medical treatment. You won't even have to deal with the insurance adjuster or nurse case manager: we take care of all of that for you. And we work hard to get you a settlement at the end of the road that will help secure your future.
Give us a call today at 202-393-3320.
Talk to someone who wants to hear your story.