Thoughts After 45 Years
When I first started to practice Workers’ Compensation Law in 1970 the most any individual could receive for lost wages as a result of a work injury was $60 per week. Now it is $932 per week. What a difference 44 years makes. However, Workers’ Compensation insurance carriers because of the increase in benefits contest many more claims and to a much greater degree.
Testimony of doctors are taken in order to prove or disprove that the injury is work-related and that the injury still exists and that it prevents the injured worker from working.
The Workers’ Compensation Judge then determines the credibility of the injured worker, witnesses and doctors.
Concerning credibility a common theme that I see running through my cases are comments by my injured workers clients that “I am not like all those others. I did get injured and seriously so.” The facts do bear out that my clients’ injuries whether it is a herniated disc, broken bone, concussion, a blown out knee or myriads of other injuries are not something that my client would be making up.
I see that often the public has the same perception that injured workers are not really injured. They should only see and talk to my clients who have no income because they cannot work, have difficulty paying their medical bills and cannot support their families. But that everyone in this country (though I wish it on no one) would suffer a work injury, they wouldn’t be so quick to think that others are malingering. In fact the amount that do so are extremely small. However, as the old saying goes, “put a drop of ink in a glass of water and whole thing turns black.” Likewise, one or two people who try to game the system make it all that much more difficult for everyone else. That just means that the truly injured worker has a harder road to hoe but justice usually prevails but not without a lot of hard work.