How to Avoid Problems

The first and most important way to avoid problems is to tell the truth. Lying about how the accident happened, exaggerating complaints, failing to disclose past accident and medical history are ways to get slapped with a fraud charge.

The claims adjuster has access to the “index,” a listing of all insurance claims made nationwide. There is also a public lookup tool that reveals your previous workers’ compensation claims. Then there is the Internet, where bits and pieces of information stick around indefinitely. Social media, your own and others, may yield pictures of you doing things you claimed you could no longer do, or never did. See Claims Investigation.

A second way to avoid problems is to immediately report all earnings from working while receiving temporary disability payments. For example, you may still be able to do a side job even if you cannot do the job you were doing when injured. You need to advise the claims adjuster of this (do this in writing).

Keep receipts and records organized. Your attorney will need the documents later. A plastic envelope from the local dollar store is a way to keep the papers clean and visible.

Keep your attorney informed of any change in status, contact information, or increase in symptoms or medical problems of any sort that arise after the accident or injury, even if you think it was not caused by the injury or treatment for the work injury.

Do not assume your attorney has received information from claims, or is representing you on other matters, or knows you returned to work or moved out of state. Send an email, fax or letter letting the attorney know, and keep a record of everything you send anyone concerning your case.

Lastly, avoid discussing your case with others. You never know how what you share may be distorted or may harm you later. Likewise, do not rely on legal advice or information from friends, relatives, neighbors, doctors, etc. — ask your attorney. You are paying for the attorney’s expertise. Free “advice” can be costly and lead to wrong expectations and actions that harm your claim.