A cropped shot of injured employee working at desk with arm in cast.

5 Workers’ Comp Tips Your Boss Doesn’t Want You to Know

Workers’ Comp: What Your Boss Doesn’t Want You to Know

Although workers’ compensation is designed to protect employees against workplace injuries and accidents, many employers won’t hesitate to do whatever they can to prevent employees from receiving the care they need.

Even a seemingly ethical employer may be under pressure from the higher-ups above them. Sadly, many employers attempt to pull the wool over workers’ eyes in order to minimize the validity, value, and frequency of workers’ comp claims. This is why it’s more important than ever to understand your employee rights, how workers’ compensation works, and how and when to file a claim.

It's crucial to fill out the necessary paperwork as swiftly as possible, as time is of the utmost importance when it comes to filing a workers’ compensation claim. If it’s your first time filing for workers’ comp, you may find it confusing and even overwhelming to navigate the complexities of the process—especially when confronted with a meddlesome employer who will stop at nothing to discredit you or reduce the final payout.

5 Workers’ Comp Tips Your Boss Isn’t Telling You

Keep in mind that you have certain rights as an American worker, and should feel free to exercise those rights confidently and assertively. Keep reading to learn 5 tips your employer doesn’t want you to know about filing for workers’ compensation.

#1: If you started the job with a preexisting condition, you’re still covered.

There’s a fine line between seeking workers’ compensation on the basis of a preexisting condition, and seeking compensation for a workplace accident or injury that worsens a preexisting condition. At end of the day, a preexisting condition doesn’t disqualify you from workers’ compensation eligibility.

An employee with a preexisting condition who is injured on the job is equally eligible to file a workers’ comp claim as an injured employee without a preexisting condition. It’s imperative to understand this, as many employers and insurers will try to automatically deny claims filed by employees with preexisting conditions, some of which include:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Herniated disc or fracture
  • Strains and sprains
  • An old sports injury (such as an ACL tear, concussion, or tennis elbow)
  • Past orthopedic injuries
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

#2: You can still receive workers’ comp as a former employee.

In some cases, you are still eligible to receive workers’ compensation as a former employee. This is largely due to a federal law known as COBRA, which stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986.

COBRA requires employers with 20+ employees to provide temporary continuation of group health coverage in certain instances. Under this federal law, employees and their beneficiaries are eligible for continued coverage in the case of a “qualifying event”: an occurrence that would typically cause an individual to lose health coverage under a group health plan.

The details and conditions of continued coverage are based on the qualifying event at hand. Examples of valid qualifying events include:

  • The death of a covered employee
  • A covered employee’s termination or reduction of hours
  • A covered employee becoming eligible for Medicare
  • Divorce from a covered employee
  • A dependent child of a covered employee who ceases to be a dependent

Because of COBRA regulations, even an employee who voluntarily terminates their employment may be eligible for continued compensation from a former employer if they were previously injured or involved in an accident while on the job.

#3: You’re entitled to workers’ comp regardless of fault.

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that even if you’re at fault for the workplace injury or accident, you can and should file a workers’ comp claim. While many employers resort to unethical behavior to bully or intimidate employees into not filing a claim, workers are still eligible—and encouraged—to do so.

The only exception to this no-fault system is if an employer proves that a worker intentionally injured themselves. Otherwise, your boss has no right to deny you workers’ compensation, even if you were partially or wholly at fault for the accident or injury in question.

#4: If you’re injured offsite or while working remotely, you’re still covered.

When it comes to workers’ compensation eligibility, location has nothing to do with it. If the accident occurred while performing your job responsibilities, you’re eligible to file a workers’ comp claim.

There is a distinction between commuting to and from work versus travelling on the job. For example, if you were driving to the office and weren’t yet clocked in or performing job-related duties, you likely won’t be eligible to file.

However, if your job entails a lot of travelling during the workday (such as a construction worker driving to pick up supplies from a shop across town, or commuting to a private residence to service a client’s home), you are eligible to file for workers’ comp if an accident occurs during the transition.

#5: You’re under no obligation to settle on your employer’s terms.

Many American workers feel pressure to accept the first offer that hits the table, and employers often attempt to push employees to settle as quickly as possible.

As uncomfortable as you might feel in this scenario, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re under no obligation to accept the initial settlement offer—even if your boss is pushing you to do so. Even a worker on excellent or amicable terms with an employer isn’t immune to pressure from their boss…or their boss’s boss, and so on.

Sadly, it isn’t uncommon for employers and insurers to impose pressure on American employees to fold before a fair settlement is reached. It’s always wise to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before deciding to accept a settlement offer to avoid receiving less than you rightfully deserve.

How We Can Help

At McHargue & Jones, LLC, our mission is to improve the lives of people who have unfairly suffered as a result of workplace injuries, accidents, or others’ negligence. Since 2000, we have devoted our time and energy to pursuing justice on behalf of our clients in the Chicago area. We understand that even the most deserving people are sometimes deprived of the compensation they deserve, and we make it our priority to prevent this from occurring.

When you partner with our dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys, you’re equipping yourself with the best chance of success in court. Our committed lawyers possess a comprehensive understanding of this very complex area of our legal system. You can rely on our firm to provide sound legal counsel and relentless legal representation to achieve the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Is your boss giving you the run-around after a workplace accident? Regardless of fault, you’re eligible for compensation. Call (312) 739-0000 to schedule your free consultation.