Take Charge of Your Claim
Saturday, December 15, 2001 | 471 | 0 | min read
Unfortunately workers' compensation ends up adversarial because of competing interests.
The purpose of workers' compensation systems are to "pay now, ask questions later" in order to take care of the injured worker. When this system was devised, this philosophy made sense because of the terribly unjust system it replaced - civil litigation that literally placed thousands out on the streets, destitute and in desperation, because they couldn't afford to live after being injured at work.
This philosophy stills makes sense, and for the most part it works. America is the worlds' economic leader because people in this country are productive, whether fully capable, disabled, injured, or aged. Our laws are designed to guarantee work to everyone that wants to work, and the outcome is the economic envy of the world - so much so that America continues to be the single largest importer of people ever in the history of the world through both legal and illegal immigration.
But, the inescapable fact is that too often a system that was designed originally to benefit those less capable after a work injury turns into a fight over what, if anything, the injured worker is to receive or what the employer (insurance company) is to pay out.
We see this all the time at workcompcentral because we offer resources to both the professional in workers' compensation as well as the injured worker: we do not discriminate who uses our services and tools. Injured workers can use the same tools that are relied upon by insurance claims examiners, defense attorneys, applicant attorneys, treating physicians, and medical examiners. Occasionally we are accused of catering to the "defense" and ignoring the needs of the injured worker. But this argument ignores the very simple fact that both "sides" deal with the same law: the same cases, the same calculations, the same set of doctors, the same set of insurance companies, the same set of people. There is no "side" to workers' compensation law - only the fact that there is a law, and its interpretation. The difference between the sides is how one uses the tools that are available to take advantage of what the law is.
As an injured worker you are at an advantage when you avail yourself of the same set of tools and resources that the professionals use. It's your life, your injury, and your destiny. While there are many dedicated professionals who are interested in ensuring your speedy recovery and productive return to work, ultimately it is up to you to take charge of your life and its direction. Only you can be in charge of you - anything less is simple victimization and while people will have pity on victims, pity does not resolve problems.