During my career I have seen many people who had very real and very serious work injuries make their cases unnecessarily difficult. Here is a list of some of the most common problems that I have seen.
- Denying activities you actually perform outside of work. In most workers’ compensation cases, and especially for cumulative trauma cases, the insurance company will interview the Claimant. One of the standard areas of questioning is about what type of activities a worker engages in outside of employment. Sometimes an injured worker will deny that they have a second job, or that they regularly chop their own firewood because they are worried that the claim will be denied based on these other activities. An insurance company might deny a claim in which they are told the worker has a second job, but the worker still has a good chance to win at trial. However, a worker who denied a second job or a strenuous hobby is going to be facing an uphill battle when the insurance company discovers the truth. Believe me, the truth always comes out.
- Denying preexisting conditions or past injuries. Similarly, a worker with a shoulder injury might answer interview questions about a past shoulder injury or treatment with a false denial. The fact that a worker has a preexisting problem is not a work comp defense. If the employment substantially aggravates the preexisting condition, then the employer and insurance company are responsible for the injury. However, denying the preexisting problem makes it easier for the insurance company to convince a work comp judge that the complaint is actually based on the preexisting problem.