Workplace injuries can come in many forms. From a painful accident and repetitive stress to toxic exposure and job-related illnesses, employees have the option to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation benefits exist to help injured employees avoid financial peril while healing. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employers to seek to interfere with the claim process.
What strategies might an employer use to delay a workers’ compensation claim?
- Limited approved medical facilities: The employer must post a list of designated medical providers that can fully examine the workplace injuries. A list of at least six providers – three of which must be physicians – must include providers who are geographically reasonable. If the employer does not provide a list or the facilities are not nearby, the employer could be attempting to interfere with the claim.
- Requesting additional paperwork: The employer might seek to interfere or delay the workers’ compensation claim process by requesting additional paperwork or documentation. Workers might fear a reprisal if they do not comply.
- Intimidation: Employers might attempt to influence an injured worker through intimidation. By claiming a loyal worker wouldn’t hold the company responsible for an accident, the employer might put undue pressure on a worker not to file a claim.
- Characterizing the injury as the employee’s fault: Even though in Pennsylvania, a workplace injury is a no-fault event, employers might attempt to intimidate workers into not filing by claiming the accident was their fault.
- The threat of retaliation: Employers can attempt to impose their will through numerous tactics. One of the strongest strategies is to threaten or imply a certain measure of retaliation for filling out a workers’ compensation claim. The government considers a broad range of acts as retaliation including termination, demotion, transfer to an unwanted shift, transfer to an unwanted department and negative performance evaluation.
There are numerous legal protections in place to shield injured workers from unscrupulous behavior from their employer. After a work injury, toxic exposure or repetitive stress, employees are entitled to seek workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer has intimidated you or your claim was interfered with, it is wise to seek legal guidance as soon as possible.