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Common Reasons People Hesitate To File Workers’ Compensation

Workers Comp Lawyer

Following an injury while on the job means you may qualify for workers’ compensation. Ideally, this would be a straightforward process where you report the incident to your boss or supervisor, file the claim, and the insurance company approves it. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, and complications can arise. Due to possible complications, many workers may hesitate to file workers’ compensation, let alone hire an attorney to help. We’ll explore common reasons workers sometimes hesitate to file for workers’ compensation.

They May Not Feel Their Injuries Are Sufficient Enough 

Many Americans have a strong work ethic, and many are taught not to seek medical help unless it feels essential. As such, it’s not uncommon for workers to continue working even as a work-related injury gives them extreme pain. They may simply grit and bear it by taking over-the-counter painkillers or other medications. However, an injury doesn’t need to be life-threatening to render you unable to work. While an injury can be pesky back pain one day, it can quickly escalate into serious injuries the next day.

They Don’t Want To Mess With Their Current Working Environment 

The workplace can have a lot of inner “politics” among workers, and it’s easy for misinformation or rumors to spread. Even if a worker isn’t afraid of being fired, they can be afraid to take a blow to their reputation at work or to make other workers mad or upset. They may even fear filing for workers’ compensation can affect getting a raise or promotion in the future. Sometimes employers will even cut a worker’s hours even though filing for workers’ compensation technically shouldn’t affect employment.

Direct Fear, Intimidation, or Pressure 

Workers can also receive direct fear, intimidation, or pressure from other employees—including supervisors—not to file a claim or to downplay their injuries. Likewise, they may know of other times fellow or past employees suffered harassment after getting injured.

They Think They’ll Already Know the Outcome 

Employers and their insurance companies will sometimes use strategies to avoid paying out. These strategies can include anything from delaying paperwork, downplaying an employee’s injuries, refusing to negotiate, or even arguing the claim should be denied due to one of the following:

  • The employee had preexisting medical conditions 
  • The employee was violating specific safety standards or protocols 
  • The accident never happened
  • The employee intentionally injured themselves

The Process of Hiring an Attorney Seems too Complicated or Expensive

Lastly, employees may not file for workers’ compensation because they assume they’ll need an attorney. Unfortunately, workers often do need an attorney to get a fair settlement. However, the idea of hiring an attorney can sound complicated or will cost too much. 

While an employee may want to research before selecting an attorney, the good news is that their attorney can handle their case. Money-wise, a typical NY workers comp lawyer operates under a contingency fee, meaning workers don’t need to pay upfront, as their attorneys receive a percentage of the final settlement or court award. Our friends at Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy LLP attest to this process’s straightforwardness.