Most injured workers have never had to hire an attorney and the thought of even talking to an attorney can be frightening. However, if your work injury has been denied workers’ compensation benefits, then the likelihood of hiring an attorney is high. When meeting with the injured worker, the attorneys at Mays Law Office are looking for certain things in determining whether to take the claim on for representation. You can help the attorney see you in a favorable light if you have been diligent. Things that a Wisconsin attorney likes to see are:
THE WORK INJURY WAS REPORTED IMMEDIATELY TO THE EMPLOYER
Wisconsin injured workers who get hurt at work need to report the injury to their employer that same day, or at least within a few days after it occurred. Formally documenting the injury is important because delay can cause a denial of benefits. In turn, the employer needs to timely report work injuries to their worker’s compensation insurance carrier. Documenting the injury is important for both the employer and the injured worker. Taking pictures of the area where the injury occurred, machinery or equipment involved, speaking to witnesses, and documenting the details of the injury is crucial to investigate the claim.
THE WISCONSIN INJURED WORKER GOT MEDICAL TREATMENT TIMELY FOLLOWING HER INJURY
Wisconsin workers that are hurt on the job need to seek medical treatment within a few days of the injury occurring. In doing so, the injury is medically documented, and treatment options are considered and started. Workers that choose to self-treat serious injuries versus seeking timely medical treatment is not helpful and implies that the employee is not hurt that badly and the healing process is delayed.
THE INJURED WORKER LISTENS TO HIS WISCONSIN DOCTOR AND FOLLOWS THEIR TREATMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
Seeking medical treatment is the correct first step, the next step is following the medical recommendations of your doctor. If your doctor prescribes physical therapy, then it is important that Wisconsin injured workers participate in therapy and not miss appointments. If the doctor puts the injured workers on physical restrictions, then it is important for the injured worker to not participate in any activity that exceeds the restrictions, either personally or occupationally. A supportive doctor is absolutely necessary for getting Wisconsin worker’s compensation benefits. Doctors are only supported when they have a patient that is diligent in trying to get better.
THE WISCONSIN INJURED WORKER MUST BE A GOOD HISTORIAN
When speaking with a Mays Law Office attorney it is helpful that the injured worker has a good memory of their injury. Meaning, the how and when it happened, the pain and symptoms that occurred, the details of how the injured worker responded to the pain, and the actions they took in response to it. It is a good idea to take pictures of cuts, abrasions, and bruising, and keep a journal of how the symptoms progress. Calendaring the dates of visits to medical providers is important when chronicling the story and details of the injury. Every work injury has a story and the details are very important in establishing that the injury is credible. Keeping all written documentation from the employer, workers’ compensation carrier, and medical records is helpful when putting together the details of the injury story.
THE WISCONSIN INJURED WORKER IS OPEN AND HONEST WITH HER ATTORNEY
Your attorney is your advocate. Withholding information is never a good idea because once revealed by opposing counsel it can undercut the credibility of the injury and relationship with your attorney. Very few disputed Wisconsin work injuries are perfect; this is why they are disputed. So, arming your attorney with ALL the information is the best course of action because then the Mays Law Office attorney can be prepared on how to handle all of the facts, even those facts that may not be favorable to the injured worker. An attorney that learns about the unfavorable facts late puts them at a disadvantage in succeeding for you.
THE WISCONSIN INJURED WORKER LISTENS TO HIS ATTORNEY
With any great team, leadership is important. Follow the leadership of your attorney. Your relationship with your attorney will likely last several months to a year, maybe even longer. The Wisconsin workers’ compensation process can be slow. So, avoiding unnecessary delay is crucial. Always return your attorney’s calls and messages quickly. When your attorney asks for information, make it a priority. Ask questions if you are confused. A successful result is not achieved by just the Mays Law Office attorney. It is achieved when the injured worker is an active participant by being responsive, cooperative, and attentive.
THE WISCONSIN INJURED WORKER SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM POSTING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
It is no secret that Wisconsin employers, their workers’ compensation insurance carrier, and opposing counsel will do a search of the injured worker on the Internet. They are looking for postings and pictures of the Wisconsin injured worker behaving inconsistently with their injury. So, if you have a shoulder injury, do not be seen in posts with the local bowling league, or holding a bow and arrow kneeling next to an impressive kill. Remember a “picture is worth a thousand words” and the impression these posts leave is that the injured worker is not disabled from their work injury but living a full and dynamic life. Many injured workers will claim that the picture was just for show and boastful in truth they never really participated in the activity. Regardless, these posts are hard to refute. The question the Judge will grapple with is if you were okay lying about the post to your friends and followers then you are likely okay with lying to boast the seriousness of your injury. Credibility is a threshold question in Wisconsin worker’s compensation disputes. Claims can be won and lost on credibility alone.
THE INJURED WORKER KEEPS HIS MAYS LAW OFFICE ATTORNEY UPDATED ON HIS MEDICAL TREATMENT
There is nothing more frustrating for Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorneys than unnecessary delay. Workers’ compensation claims take a while before they are ready for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Delay due to lack of communication is a real problem. Often the attorney is waiting for the injured worker to complete all her medical treatment before asking the doctor to complete the final paperwork offering opinions as to disability and permanent physical restrictions. It is unfortunate when the attorney finds out that treatment ended months earlier. Remember, the attorney does not come to your medical appointments, so we are dependent on medical updates from the injured worker. At Mays Law Office, we try to connect by phone or email, with our clients monthly so that unnecessary delay is avoided.
THE INJURED WORKER IS PATIENT AND REALISTIC AS TO THE OUTCOME OF THEIR WISCONSIN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM
Sometimes when a Mays Law Office attorney first meets with an injured worker, the worker proclaims that their claim is worth a million dollars. The recovery of worker’s compensation benefits is dictated by the Wisconsin Legislature and very few work injuries, not involving paralysis or death, have a million-dollar valuation. There are no sympathetic jurors in Wisconsin workers’ compensation claims. It is governed by Wisconsin Statute, Chapter 102, and determined by an administrative law judge at a hearing who is required to follow certain legislative perimeters. Be reminded that Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorneys, like Mays Law Office, are paid a 20% contingency fee of what they receive for the Wisconsin injured worker, so their interests are in line with the injured worker. The more the attorney gets for the injured worker, the bigger their 20% fee will be. Keeping a realistic perspective as to the value of the work injury and allowing the process to play out patiently is invaluable to a good working relationship with your attorney.
In sum, following these simple suggestions will help contribute to a successful result when pursuing Wisconsin workers’ compensation benefits. Call Mays Law Office at (608)257-0440 if your claim for benefits has been denied.