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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Hello, I'm Karla Mitchell. Going through a legal case can be very expensive and challenging. I won't go into details, but I recently underwent my own legal battle that lasted several years. It is finally over and I successfully received a settlement, but I had to spend so much time studying law in order to play my role in my own court case. While I found a great attorney at one point, I felt completely lost initially and I don't want anyone else to experience the same thing. So I decided to create this blog for those who would like to know more about law.


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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

GPS For The Workers Comp Road: How To Talk To Your Boss During The Claims Process

by Andrew Martin

Sustaining a life-changing injury while performing job duties puts many people in an adversarial position with their former employers. After all, if you are challenging the findings of your employer's insurance company--findings that posit your employer has no liability for the incident--it's going to be difficult to navigate conversations between the two of you while you both await the outcome of the case. However, there are some helpful tips you can use to navigate this long and winding road--tips that will help you preserve your professional reputation.

1. Put yourself in your employer's shoes

This might be the most difficult part of the workers comp process for you. While you certainly don't agree with your employer's decision to contest your claim, try to understand why he/she is doing so.

Ultimately, successful workers comp claims hit your boss right in the company pocketbook; after all, the premiums for this mandatory insurance will go up if the company suffers excessive claims. Even one very expensive claim can drive future premiums up into a range that may be too high for your employer to pay. If this happens, the consequence might be worker layoffs or reduction in work hours. Your boss might be looking at a particularly difficult bottom line.

2. Walk the high road

You are going to be presented with a myriad of opportunities to respond to contacts from your employer and the workers comp insurance company during your claim. Decide ahead of time to handle those responses in a way that preserves your dignity and reputation. It's easy to become bitter or angry when frustrating obstacles arise.

If you can be gracious instead of grumpy and patient instead of prickly, it will go a long way to preserving your relationship with your former boss. After all, you may need to draw on this connection in the future if you rejoin the workforce and need a recommendation. This is especially important if you work in a field that lends itself to discussion among regional managers about "problem" employees.

3. Keep your ear to the ground

Listen carefully to your workers compensation attorney for advice. Your lawyer is an expert in these types of negotiation and may be able to anticipate your employer's next move. Rather than rushing ahead on your own, revealing your next move or divulging evidence you've gathered about his culpability, know when not to talk to your employer.

4. Detour when necessary

There may be some surprises along the way during the workers comp process. Your employer might throw some kinks into the case, frustrating you. Don't try to forge ahead blindly or stubbornly, blasting your boss with blame. Don't stand in the road and argue. Instead, step back and take a different route. Your attorney will advise you as to the next step.

5. Cross the finish line well

Although it seems like it will never end, your workers comp case does have a finish line. Watch for the small victories, and keep your eyes on the prize: full compensation for your injuries and provision for continued medical treatment. When it happens, again, be the bigger person.

With your attorney's counsel, consider writing a note of closure to your employer with appropriate sentiments. Perhaps the best you can manage is to acknowledge the painful process you've both just been through and to thank him/her for professional growth you experienced while at the company. Regardless, it allows you end the relationship on high ground.

Filing a workers comp claim immediately puts you at odds with your employer, but you do have a measure of control over how the relationship fares. It may be extremely difficult to handle yourself with civility during these months, but when you look back upon the situation in later years, you will be glad you did. Tell your workers comp attorney, like one from Hardee and Hardee LLP, from the start that preserving your professional reputation is important to you.