My client, Jim, has been a delivery driver for his company for 15 years. On June 1, 2011 he injured his low back while delivering 25 packages, each weighing 50 lbs. He did not know whether he had a serious injury or something that would go away after a night’s sleep so he did not call in his injury to his supervisor.
When he woke up the next day, he had significant low back pain. He drove to work and reported the injury to his employer. His supervisor asks him not to file a workers compensation claim because doing so will cost the company a lot of money. He tells Jim that if he doesn’t file a claim, he will “work with” him, giving him whatever time off he needs.
Jim wants to avoid friction and agrees not to file a workers comp claim. For a few weeks, everything is fine. Jim is able to take off the time he needs to recover from his injury but he wonders why he isn’t receiving any pay. About two months into his recovery, he learns that his group health insurance has been cut off, he is denied medical treatment under workers comp, and he is receiving no pay for his lost time.
Jim decided to hire us to help him recover lost wages and money to pay off the medical bills he acquired during his injury. When I contacted the workers compensation insurance company, I’m told that Jim’s claim has been denied because the company has no record of his being injured on the job. Jim’s supervisor denies having met with Jim the day after his accident, and denies telling Jim not to file a workers comp claim. While Jim is off work, his daughter falls sick, and needs to go to the hospital. Jim has no way of paying the $20,000 hospital bill, a bill which would have been paid by his group insurance if his company hadn’t cut off this benefit.
This workers comp case recently went to trial, and I am waiting for the Arbitrator’s decision.
For me, this is a small case, as Jim’s injuries did not require much medical treatment. Even if Jim wins, my payoff will be small. But I don’t like it when a big company takes advantage of an ordinary “little guy,” especially when I know that Jim can’t represent himself, and without a workers compensation attorney to help him, he will get the shaft.
As his personal injury attorney, I will do whatever it takes to make sure Jim gets the compensation he is entitled to.