How to take personal responsibility to protect your workers’ compensation claim
As some of you are now aware, the sensitivities and interpretation of benefits for injured workers has become more stringent. Any person injured on the job and who is not totally disabled has an obligation to search for work consistent with their disabilities and skill level. What this means is that since the “Axel case,” the burden has been placed on workers to demonstrate they have made sufficient attempts to look for work consistent with their diminished abilities. Failure to make such a “work search” has been found to be detrimental to receiving continued indemnity benefits and in some cases even prevent the continued receipt of medical benefits.
It is therefore incumbent upon the injured worker to be able to document this “work search” with written copies of applications, written rejections and details of the kinds of work with the specifics of the search. A mere review of the classified or computer searches is not necessarily convincing. Registrating with the local “One Stop” division of the Unemployment Office near you is a start. Diligent follow up with same and actual filing for work with applications and records are being requested by most compensation law judges.
Do not be complacent or acquiescent. If you are questioned in court you are required to present evidence of such work searches. Oral statements without physical evidence is not effective evidence. A word to the wise, protect your benefits. Keep written logs of your “work searches” and be prepared for investigations by the insurance companies. Do not sign statements without discussing your rights with an attorney. Be honest but be aware. The free ride has ended. The insurance industry has adopted the Reagan credo, “Trust but Verify” which has become “Prove or Be Disbelieved.”
As always, note our legal disclaimer, this blog is not legal advise but merely informative and for educational benefits. Legal rights are best protected by retention and following the advise of your legal counsel.