We're going to talk about mistakes in your workers' compensation case and how to avoid them. How to identify them, how to avoid them, how to get the most out of your workers' compensation claim.
The number one thing is not taking your case seriously. So many times people get hurt and they think it's not a big deal. I sprained my ankle, I bumped my head, not a big deal. Especially when you're working a physical job and you're out there and you're active, construction workers, people like that.
When you're working at 100% and you suffer a bump or a bruise or something, your body just takes and keeps going. And a lot of times people don't realize how bad it is until they get home and they wind down and they're having dinner and they're in a ton of pain. Or the next morning they can't get out of bed because their back is all flared up. Take your injury seriously. If you get hurt, do something about it.
Get checked out by a doctor. Your health is the number one thing here. Get checked out by a doctor. Even if you think it's not a big deal, get checked out and hopefully it's nothing and you bounce back and go back to work and it's not a big deal and you can forget about it. But only right there with that is giving notice. One of the biggest mistakes we see is people get hurt and they think it's not a big deal so they never tell their supervisor or their employer about it. A key element, a fatal flaw to a workers' compensation case is not giving proper notice.
If you get hurt, you have 30 days to notify your employer in writing unless they have actual notice of an injury or an accident. Tell your boss about it. Tell your supervisor about it. Very, very important. Like we said before, a big mistake is not going to see a doctor. Go see the doctor sooner rather than later. Before it turns into a big injury, as we know if you leave certain injuries alone, they could get worse and worse and worse. Go see your doctor.
Not getting a lawyer is another mistake that people make. Your lawyer is there to help you. Your lawyer is there for free. Call a lawyer, get some advice, get some help and they'll steer you in the right direction. Another huge mistake that we see, people not taking their case seriously once they're involved.
So, on the one hand, we were talking about people who are not taking their injury seriously, thinking it's going to heal up. It's just a bumper of bruises and it's going to get better. But those people who now have gone into stage two, where they have an active case and they don't take their cases seriously. Insurance companies have teams of lawyers and spend thousands or millions of dollars every year defending workers' compensation cases. They take it very, very seriously. You should too. So, make sure you take your case seriously.
Not giving notice is a fatal flaw like we said before. Not getting proper treatment. You want to get better. You want to get better. You want to get better treatment. You wake up the next morning. Boom. You have a huge problem. Sometimes those problems don't develop until days or maybe a week or two later. You don't want to go looking for a lawyer when it's too late. You want to get out in front of your problems. Give the notice. Go see a doctor. Contact an attorney.
Again, it's not taking your case seriously. People fail to report prior accidents and prior injuries because they think it's no big deal or nobody's going to find out about it. They think, "Yeah, whatever. Yeah, you have a current claim for a knee injury that you suffered a month ago." Yeah, maybe you did blow out your knee in high school playing soccer. They're never going to find out about it. It's no big deal. But it is a big deal because if you don't disclose it and they do find out about it, well now technically you've been withholding information. That's a problem.
You want to get that information out. You want to let your lawyer know about it. You want to let the court know about it ahead of time. That's the way you're out in front of it. It's not a big deal at that point. If you don't and it pops up later, it could be failed to your case. Insurance fraud is a bad thing. Technically, they could attach criminal penalties to it. You could be arrested technically. You don't want to mess with it. One of the worst things I have to do as a workers' compensation lawyer is when a fraud allegation is raised. They talk to my clients about hiring a criminal attorney to defend them. You don't want to mess with it. It's easy to avoid it if you just get out in front of it. It's a huge, huge, you know, people think it's not a big deal. It's a very big deal.
Another misconception, people think that they hired a lawyer and great. My lawyer is going to do everything. It's not like we're not magicians. We can only do with what we got. The information you give us is all we have. We're not just, we can't just pick up the ball and run with it. We need your help.
When you don't take your case seriously and you don't give your lawyer all of the information that you have to help prosecute your claim and defend against any problems that your case might have, it's problematic. If you don't get a lawyer from the start, it's more difficult for a lawyer to jump in halfway through a case when a problem has popped up. We have to get access to your file. We have to review your file. This problem is boiling.
If you had a lawyer from the start, if you have a lawyer from the start, we're a phone call away.
Another big misconception here. Listen, it's handling your case on your own. I'm not saying you can't do it. People do it every single day. Obviously, there's varying degrees of severity when it comes to accidents and there's varying degrees of severity when it comes to how an insurance company is going to deal with a case. They could accept your case and pay you. It might not be a major injury and you might be able to handle it on your own. But a lot of people try to handle more significant cases on their own and when it reaches a point where a problem does pop up, they don't have the ability to handle it and then they have to go scramble and find the lawyer.
You're not always able to handle it on your own. It's always best even just to have a consultation with a lawyer and see what's out there.
So, the first mistake we did talk about it before, notice. Give notice. It could cost you time and money. Poor notice, improper notice. Maybe your boss, you told a friend of a friend of a friend who called your boss three days later about and told about the accident. You know, it's not the best notice and that could lead to an insurance company contributing or fighting your case.
Then you have to go to court and you have to have a trial. Who knows which way the judge is going to decide. There might be an appeal. That's going to drag your case out unnecessarily. If you get hurt, make sure you give proper notice. A proper notice should be in writing. Go to your boss. Go to your supervisor. Go to the site safety. Go to HR. Say, "Hey, I just fell down. I just, you know, had an accident." Whatever it was, I tripped over a box. I want to fill out an accident report. Even if it's minor, fill it out. Take care of yourself. It's in writing. You're protected yourself and you did the smart thing.
The number two thing. Gather and keep evidence. You might have a great relationship with your employer. You might have a great relationship with the insurance company when your case first starts up, but you never know what's going to happen. Gather and keep evidence. If you had an accident on a construction site and you could snap a picture or somebody could snap a picture for you, do it. If there was some item that was involved in your accident, some piece of evidence that you could hold on to, go ahead and do it. If there's a possibility that they're going to say that you weren't working for the company and you have a t-shirt with the company's name on, make sure you keep it. Don't throw it out. Gather and keep all the evidence you can to support your claim because it might be very useful. Hopefully you never have to use it, but if you have, you can't use it if you don't have it.
Number three, go to your doctor, follow your doctor's treatment instructions. Noncompliance with doctors is a huge problem. Go see your doctor, follow their instructions, go get your treatment and get yourself better, and go back to work as soon as your doctor advises you to do so. A lot of people will stay out of work thinking you will get you more money, and when you compound that with the problem of them not treating with a doctor on the schedule that they should be treating, it makes them look bad. So, see your doctor regularly, see your doctor as they instruct you to, go back to work as soon as you're able.
Another way to avoid any mistakes is be upfront and be honest about older accidents and older injuries, even if they're insignificant, even if they're minor, even if you only get a little bit of treatment, even if you've got no treatment. It's great, yeah I got into a car accident ten years ago. Did you ever see a doctor? No, it wasn't that big a deal. Okay, at least you disposed of it, because if it pops up somewhere down the road and the insurance company raises it, now you look like you're hiding something.
Get out in front of it, tell your lawyer, let your lawyer be prepared for it, let your lawyer present it in the best way possible so it doesn't hurt you as much as it can, and avoid those problems by getting out in front of them.
Another way to avoid mistakes, when you are in court, when you are, like I said before, you want to give your lawyer as much information as possible. When you're in court, when you're answering questions to a judge, to the insurance company, to their doctor, don't just blur it on answers. Think about your, you could take a breath, you can stop, you can think for a minute and make sure you give them an accurate answer. Make sure you give them the right answer, be upfront, be honest, but you don't have to blur everything out. Make sure you think about your answer and you give them the correct answer.
People talk too much when it comes to answering questions sometimes, don't talk too much in court. It can be very harmful to you. Anything you can and will be used against you, it's true. When you're in your lawyer's office, you can spill your guts all you want, you can tell them everything you want to tell them, but when you get to court, you can't do it. When you get to court and listen to the question, think about the answer, answer the question and do nothing more, because there's no reason for it.
The number one thing here is communication. It's almost like you're being married for a short period of time to your lawyer. Communication is key. Be upfront with your lawyer, give them all the facts, give them all the evidence, tell them everything you could possibly tell them about the case. Tell them the good stuff, tell them the bad stuff. Let your lawyer know everything. Talk about the pros and cons of your case.
Just as much as you want to tell your lawyer all the good things that are in your favor, the witnesses that saw you, the pictures that you got, make sure you also tell them about the bad things that might hurt your case. Not telling your lawyer and hiding it is only going to make it worse if it comes out and your lawyer is not prepared for it. That's the same thing as prior accidents and injuries. Let your lawyer know about it, let your lawyer be able to get out in front of those problems and downplay that negative impact so you can get past those problems.
Again, getting a lawyer is key. Why? It's free. Coming to sit down with an attorney and have a consultation and I'm sure there's plenty of my YouTubers and Instagrammers and TikTokers that I've had come in here and we have a nice chat about their case and it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to retain me. The consultation is free. If the insurance company is doing what they're supposed to do out of the gate, your lawyer doesn't have to do anything. They're going to file your paperwork. They're going to keep it on your claim, but they're not doing anything proactive to get you what you need because the insurance company is providing it. That's free.
You have a lawyer on call for free throughout the entirety of your case and if the poo hits the fan at any point in time, all you've got to do is pick up the phone. Your lawyer has access to your case. They know what's going on and they can jump right in to help you with any problems. Whereas if you don't have a lawyer and a problem pops up, you have to track one down, find somebody who's willing to jump into the middle of a case. Wait for them to get access to your file. Wait for them to review the file and then hopefully they're able to do something to salvage something out of your case to benefit you moving forward. So getting a lawyer is free. You might as well.
Again, like we said before, don't try to go out alone. It's always easier for a lawyer to represent you from day one than to jump in and try to salvage a case halfway through. We know the law. We know the tendencies of the court. We know which way your case is going to go and how to push your case and how to get you what you need, how to maximize your case value. It helps to get a lawyer. Lawyers are better at negotiating settlements and on the average, I'm not saying every time, I'm not saying, but on the average, statistics have shown that having a lawyer gets you a higher overall settlement value gets you more out of your case. So you might as well reach out and speak to an attorney. If anybody has any questions here, please feel free to post them.
You can also call me. Like I said, after last week's live, we've been getting a ton of phone calls, emails and a whole bunch of office visits. Somebody just left here a little while ago to go over their case. So you can always give us a call, 212-406-8989. You can post your questions here. Always happy to help.
Mr. Crovan, I see you've been on workers' compensation for a year in the state of Maryland, the great state of Maryland. Your pay is always late and you're not getting the proper care for all your injuries. Well, first of all, I'm going to go back to what I've been saying before. If you have a lawyer, call your lawyer and let your lawyer reign his fury on the insurance company for paying you late. I don't know Maryland workers' compensation law. I'm sorry, unfortunately. I can't be much help here in giving you specific information, but getting a lawyer is something that's something that's going to be wrong. That's something that applies across the board. If you don't have a lawyer, you should find one. Call your local bar association. They can be helpful in finding a lawyer for you. But have your lawyer go out to the insurance company. If your benefits are in fact late, I know here in New York, oftentimes we can petition for late payment penalties if your benefits are late. And insurance companies very frequently make late payments and we go after them for it. So I see, yes, you have a lawyer. Call your lawyer, my friend. Let's get them involved here. There he is. Mr. Crovan has a lawyer. Call your lawyer. Your lawyer is going to be the one that's going to help you.
Folks, if there's any other questions here about mistakes, big mistakes and how to avoid them. I mean, like I said, get a lawyer and get out in front of problems. People downplay any problems that might exist with their case. That's not a big deal. That injury wasn't so bad. I never got treatment. If it wasn't so bad, tell them about it. Give them all the records for it. It's going to show it wasn't so bad and it's going to make you look even better. And it's going to make your current injury show up for what it really is. So it's certainly helpful. Get out in front of problems. You always want to get out in front of problems. And don't let them come and bite you in the butt because it's no good.
Hi, Vic. "Is there an issue if you switch lawyers?" Well, if you're switching lawyers, you're probably doing it because there is an issue. So yes. And it's probably an issue for your prior attorney, the one you're trying to get away from. Generally speaking here in New York State, no, it's not an issue. You're allowed to hire a lawyer. You're allowed to hire the lawyer if you're choosing. And you're allowed to switch attorneys. If you find that it's not a good fit with your current attorney, you can always switch attorneys at least here in New York. Generally speaking, it is not a problem. Talk to your perspective, new lawyer about it. And they should be upfront and honest about when and why you should switch lawyers. But no, you should not have an issue there, Vic. But thank you for the question. Valid question.
Hello, Brian. "Been on a workers' compensation case since November 23rd when I was injured at work. I have a lawyer. I got a spine injection and made my pain worse. And now I have nerve damage and I can't move my foot. Third-party suit." You're talking about a medical malpractice case here. Is it possible? Certainly it sounds like something was done that made your injury worse. I am not a medical malpractice specialist. I do work with a whole variety of attorneys who do specialize in medical malpractice. If you need help with that, you can discuss that with your current attorney.
If you'd like to give me a call, I do have other questions there to see if you do have a claim in that direction. Certainly you can give me a call and we can go over that and I can see if we can help you out with that. It sucks hearing about that. We want you getting better, not getting worse, Brian. So hopefully the damage that you suffered from this injection is going to get better and you can get past this.
But again, if you need any assistance, please give me a call. 212-406-8989. Thank you everyone.