Fear of Filing, Firing an Issue in Workers Comp

06-27-2014

Fear of Filing, Firing an Issue in Workers Comp

workers compensationWe’ve long heard from clients that they often avoid filing a Workers’ Comp claim out of fear of being fired.

Sadly, that fear is born out of past experience (it’s true that some employers frighten employees in this way), but also out of a basic misunderstanding of workers’ comp.

Recent studies published in The Insurance Journal found that filing a workers’ compensation claim can actually be good for workers and their post-injury productivity. The findings indicate that it may be in employers’ best interests to encourage injured people to seek the coverage their workers’ compensation insurance provides.

The study found:

  • Workers worried about being fired experienced poorer “return to work” outcomes than un-afraid employees.
  • 1 in 5 workers concerned about being fired claimed their injury happened outside of work, double the rate of workers who did not fear firing.
  • Recoveries take longer when workers are afraid – by an average of four weeks – perhaps due to a delayed search for medical help.

As the Steinberg Law Firm’s attorneys often advise clients, workers compensation filings do not constitute “suing” one’s employer. In fact, they are insurance claims – much as those one would make for any other medical care.

Successful workers’ compensation claims help injured workers bridge the economic gap between paychecks, to shoulder their medical and care expenses, and to receive the care needed to eventually, hopefully, return to the workforce.

The studies are based on telephone interviews with 3,200 injured workers across eight states: Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

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