When the goal of a workers’ compensation claim is to receive benefits to provide for recovery of an injury, the light at the end of the litigation tunnel seems distant without incurring any delays. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can already seem like a minefield of unknowable traps and obstacles lying in wait without accounting for the likelihood that your case’s end could be pushed back again and again. When medical bills are piling up, the financial stress only adds to the pain of the injury. Rather than leaving more questions unanswered, this article’s aim is to shed some light on what goes on behind the curtain.
Written notice of your injury to your employer must be given within ninety days of the accident for the injury to be compensable, though reporting the injury within five days is recommended. After this, you have two years to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. In turn, your employer will notify its insurance provider of the claim for benefits in order to determine the compensability of the injury. This is the starting point of using delay as a tactic against the employee during the compensation process.
It is imperative to keep in mind that insurance companies, like any other corporation, operate for the purpose of turning a profit. While insurance firms may market themselves as for the people or for the employee’s benefit, the financial bottom line is still a driving force of its operation. This leads to insurance adjusters causing undue delay when responding to claims. For example, an adjuster for the insurance provider may ask for an employee to provide information to the insurance firm that is not needed but takes time to produce. Once the information is provided, the adjuster may take longer than necessary to respond to emails or communications from the employee, causing further delay.
The purpose in delay is twofold. On the one hand, it prolongs the time until the insurance provider must pay out the benefits to the claimant, and on the other, it weakens the position of the employee, creating a dire need for benefits so that the employee is willing to accept a lower settlement offer. Insurance companies maintain funds in interest-accruing account. The longer a larger sum is left in the account, the greater the return on the principal. This creates the incentive for insurance companies to delay paying out large lump sum benefits. The delay in a return on the claim, in turn, creates a struggling financial situation for the injured employee who cannot return to work, yet has medical bills stacking up that must be paid. When money is sorely needed, the insurance provider can get away with paying less to the employee who will take whatever he can get in order to avoid amassing debt.
This is the reason consulting a workers’ compensation is of the utmost importance. There is more than meets the eye with filing a claim for work comp benefits, and every employee deserves full compensation for injuries sustained on the job.
If you are hurt on the job due to unsafe working conditions, seek legal counsel, as you may be entitled to workers’ compensation or other benefits. As we have since 1967, we will continue to protect the legal rights of our clients – those who are hurt on the job while working for Alabama employers. If you have been injured on the job and want to learn your rights, please consider contacting the Nomberg Law Firm. Our office number is 205-930-6900.
Bernard D. Nomberg has been a lawyer for more than 20 years. Bernard has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating. In 2020, Bernard was named a Super Lawyer for the 7th year in a row.