Question: When your employees have fears and uncertainties about Who do they call?
Answer: Most often a lawyer.
Question: When they have fears and uncertainties about the lawyer, who do they call?
Answer: Most often – another lawyer.
Why all the uncertainty? Actually, workers comp, like most other systems, has large gaps in disseminating important information to the least informed group – the workers, the very group that the system was created to help.
In the overly optimistic beginning of work comp it was assumed that lawyers would be unnecessary to assist workers. That didn’t last too long and neither did most of the other predictions. All of which quickly led to pretty much all the players looking for answers.
Golden Opportunity For Employers To Provide Information
Workers, employers, doctors – all without exception are looking for answers. In truth, reform in work comp isn’t needed nearly as much as access to accurate information. Which is a golden opportunity for employers to occupy a woefully vacant niche role in the process. The advantages are boundless and there is little or no opposition.
There is nothing to prevent an employer from being able to settle employee fears. But it does take a bit of effort. Not too much, but a bit. And the effort helps the employer as well. Quality knowledge, once acquired, helps every situation.
See A Workers Comp Hearing First Hand
How can the employer gain such knowledge? In addition to books and seminars , comp hearings and computer screens can provide invaluable information. Dropping in to the hearing points for comp claims, preferably when employees don’t have a hearing, is a painless introduction to the system. Is the experience better – or worse – than a morning at the motor vehicle bureau? (Much worse, which is why employers should see it first hand.)
After that, the employer should learn to locate and read the state comp board’s computer site (nearly every state has them). It will take some time, but nearly every question can be answered. If it can’t be found on the site find its phone number and call. The general counsel’s office will be most helpful. They would much rather answer questions before, not after, problems appear.
How do your employees fit in to this? Well, what you are doing is to blaze a trail for them to follow. They will be stressed out, whether or not they have had prior claims, and your assistance will be greatly appreciated. But your assistance will sound hollow unless you have attempted to recreate a live-fire claim experience.
Employees Need A Little Encouragement
Comp lawyers, such as your correspondent, get phone calls all the time, praying for a simple answer and some encouragement. Usually, we are glad to talk. But there is no reason the employer can’t speak also.
Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100. firstname.lastname@example.org
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