The original design of the Virginia Workers Compensation Act was to have a simple mechanism to provide injured workers compensation and medical care. However, the system is now much to complicated to handle it yourself. If you had a brain injury would you consult a brain injury expert or should you do it yourself? The do it yourselfers make these mistakes:
1. If the worker loses the hearing they expect to hire a lawyer for the appeal. But in a workers' compensation case, no new evidence can be added on an appeal so the worker is usually stuck with whatever evidence the worker produced at the hearing.
2. The worker may expect the Workers' Compensation Commission to act for the worker and protect the worker. However, the Commission has to be "neutral" and cannot take sides. By law the Commission cannot help the workers at a hearing.
3. The worker may expect the Workers' Compensation insurer to do the right thing and pay the worker compensation and the medical bills for the accident. But the worker doesn't realize the insurer will look for any reason to deny the claims.
4. The insurer may request the worker's prior medical records. The worker may not know the reason for this. The reason is the insurer is looking for a pre-existing condition to deny the claim. If the worker does have a pre-existing condition, the worker may face a long delay in getting benefits or have the benefits denied.
5. The employer may refuse to cooperate and may not report the worker's accident or the worker's past wages to its insurer in an effort to defeat the claim. This is especially the case if the worker did not report the accident right away or the worker did not go to a doctor right away to document the injury. Also, if the worker was just recently employed the employer may be reluctant to honor the worker's claim (since it has no loyalty to the worker).
6. The worker will be asked to give a recorded statement by the claims adjuster for the insurer. The worker may not realize that this statement will be used against the worker if the worker made any errors in the statement that harms the case. A common error is to fail to describe a compensable accident under the Workers' Compensation Act.
In summary, this is just some of the reasons why an injured worker should not represent himself or herself on a workers' compensation claim. As Abraham Lincoln said, "he who represent himself has a fool for a lawyer."
FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact Jerry Lutkenhaus at (804) 358-4766 or (800) 256-8862 or visit our website at Virginia Workers' Compensation Lawyer