Workers Compensation Top Ten Tips – Tip # 3Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company and Don’t Sign Authorizations!
Within a few days of learning of your work related accident, the insurance company claims adjusters will pounce on you. These people are NOT your friends. They are employed by the workers’ compensation insurance company to save money on your claim. While many claims adjusters may be good human beings trying to “do the right thing”, at the end of the day they are under intense pressure from the insurance carrier to minimize your workers compensation benefits and close your claim as soon as possible.
Often times their initial contact with you will take the form of a syrupy and insincere letter to the effect of: “My name is Nancy Neverpay and I’m your Claims Examiner. I look forward to working with you and your doctors to help you get better and return to work. Please call me so we can discuss your claim.” Don’t trip while you run to the phone! It’s the old “iron fist in the velvet glove trick”. They try to sound perfectly innocent and caring, but when they get you on the phone they will be fishing for information to deny or minimize your workers compensation benefits. They will try to steer you to their hand-picked doctor. They will assign you a “Nurse Case Manager” who will “coordinate” (insurance company lingo for “minimize”) your doctor visits and attend each visit to your doctor. I’ve had clients tell me the insurance company nurse stayed in the examining room while the client disrobed and the doctor performed the examination! Whatever happened to doctor-patient confidentiality and your inherent right to privacy? Bottom Line – the workers compensation insurance companies don’t care and will do whatever they think they can get away with. You don’t have to stand for such treatment.
When you get a letter from the insurance carrier, simply send it to your workers’ compensation lawyer for the appropriate response. If an insurance company Claims Adjuster, investigator or rehabilitation nurse calls you on the telephone, politely tell them that “My lawyer told me not to talk to you. If you need any information, please call him at this number and don’t contact me again”. Trust me – your workers compensation attorney will never hear from them.
Always remember that the New York Workers Compensation system is an adversarial system. You’re “David” and the insurance company is “Goliath”. Given a chance, Goliath will crush you like a bug! Be careful…