Friday, September 7, 2007

Question from the Mailbox

A Reader wrote in with a question about Worker's Compensation. Reader didn't say what state the person having a problem lives in, so my answers will be for Texas, but the basic steps for finding your own answers will be the same. And Worker's Comp rules are fairly standard from State to State.

So, let's get y'all started:
Use your Search engine of choice and enter {your State} Workers Compensation.
I got several choices, and choose the official State agency. From their home page, I clicked on the Division of Workers Compensation Home. I found a treasure trove of information and links on that page.
When you are injured at work you can choose your Doctor from the Workers Compensation Health Care Network, if your employer is a member. If your employer is NOT a member of that Network you can choose ANY Doctor from the Approved Doctor List kept by the Division of Workers Compensation. So remember, it is YOUR choice which provider you see, NOT your employer's choice. If you are unhappy with the provider, go see another one. Just remember, when you go see a new Doc, take all your employer's contact info, including their Human Resources information, or whoever the person who handles W.C. claims is. Or the name of their W.C. insurance carrier and that contact information. If you already have your claim number, that would speed things along, too.

If you are unhappy with the way your employer is treating you after you are injured; if you feel that you are being discriminated against, or if you have been demoted or fired because you filed a W.C. can contact the Office of Injured Employee Counsel at 1-866-393-6432, if you live in Texas for FREE legal advice.

The page also lists an Ombudsman for further assistance. But you can find that on your own by following the link and clicking on the Division like I did.

Of course, State provided counsel is always going to be overworked. So if changing Doctors doesn't solve your problem, as I understood it from your letter, you might have to hire your own Attorney. Since the person with the injury was terminated after filing a W.C. claim, despite being told it was for other reasons, when other, lighter duties could have been assigned while the injury healed, I would suspect that a good case could be made for a discriminatory termination. Back pay and reinstatement would be the minimum to be recovered. The employer also could be fined. Given their reprehensible behavior, I say they need to be fined and given a good swift kick in the rear! Waiting on the Injured Party, hand and foot, taking care of their house, doing the laundry and cooking for them doesn't sound bad either, but that ain't gonna happen.

I hope this info was helpful to you and others.

Now...I gotta go write three 500 word articles I'm gonna try to sell. Mama needs a laptop!

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