The Sad Truth About Many Employers

October 24, 2022
Stern & Cohen
The Sad Truth About Many Employers Stern & Cohen Workers Comp Lawyers
By nature, I am not a cynical guy.  I really am a “glass half-full” type of person and I think my optimism makes me a good advocate and my clients savor my approach.  When I tell them that despite how bleak things may feel now, in my hands, all will work out, I think most trust in me (even though they perhaps cannot envision the pathway to success like I can).  However, despite my positive nature, I cannot help but realize that employers and their insurance companies often make terrible decisions when their employee gets hurt at work.

Will Your Employer Do The Right Thing?

Within the last week, I spoke to a new client.  Let’s call him John Doe.  John works for a Fortune 500 company.  We are all familiar with them and all of us use their products regularly.  Warren Buffett is a big fan.  John has worked for this company for over 22 years.  Over two decades!  He is 55 years old, so most of his working career has been with this company.  He really likes working there.  In all his time there, he has never sustained an injury.  In fact, he has never had a physical injury outside of work either.  No meaningful trips to the doctor for John Doe ever.  Unfortunately, in September of 2022, he came down off a piece of equipment and the way he landed on the hard flooring, he had an electric pain in his lower back that shot into his buttocks.  He followed all the proper protocol – told a supervisor and went to the medical clinic on-site.  It was immediately clear that he should cease doing his regular job that is quite strenuous in nature.
First sign of disrespect – instead of letting John recuperate, they stuck him in the lunchroom for an eight-hour shift with nothing to do.  He literally was forced to stare at the four walls.  Why treat a human being like this?  You are going to make a point of not paying him any workers’ compensation payments by forcing him to show up to work and bring no value to your company?  Sounds like detention for suffering a work injury while engaged in production for your company!  Such a bad look and you have a 22 year employee sitting there with his thoughts and wondering what he did to deserve this.

Corporate Greed – The Sad Reality

Then, John goes to a very reputable orthopedic institute in the region and starts getting appropriate medical attention for his condition, including an epidural steroid injection to the spine.  Said medical specialist diagnoses a condition and unquestionably draws the connection between the injury and the event at work.  No hesitation.  What happens next?  The second sign of complete disrespect – two days after the injection, John gets a call from his employer of two decades that his claim is being denied and he cannot come into work.  Why is it being denied?  “Your injury is a pre-existing condition.”  Let’s review:  John has worked for the company for 22 years, never had an injury before, and, in fact, has never had an issue with his lower back in his lifetime.  Not even some aches and pains.  A highly competent doctor informed the company that the condition was caused by work.  Yet, John’s case is being denied.  How does this happen?  The sad reality is that it is corporate greed.  Someone in management or a bean-counter decided the most cost-effective approach to dealing with this situation would be to deny this loyal employee’s case.  It would be one thing if he had a history of low back problems or multiple injuries with this employer.  Even that would likely not be excusable, but at least we could rationalize it somehow.  Not here.

What Are The Next Steps If Your Case Is Denied?

I could hear the disappointment in John’s voice when we spoke.  I explained the next steps.  I set up a new doctor for him since the previous practice will likely not see him anymore since the claim was denied.  Fortunately, I have familiarity with doctors that will help, despite no guarantee of payment.  I prepared the Claim Petition to obtain his lost wages and medical bills now that he is off work and in need of more care.  This is what Stern & Cohen does and I assured him how efficient we are.  But, the sad lesson learned – and I see this regularly – is loyalty is rarely a two-way street.  John was loyal to a fault for this employer.  They placed no value in his years of service and credibility.  The result?  They have now poisoned the well.  John cannot trust them and will not be anxious to return.  I get to go to Court with an exceptionally strong case and a believable witness.  The Judge will hear this set of facts and be appalled.  The tables will turn and I will get John a fantastic result.  This will end up costing this Fortune 500 more money than if they just took care of John and nurtured his situation in such a way that he felt valued and encouraged to make a safe return eventually.
When you get injured on the job, you need a lawyer.  Do not wait for your employer to do the right thing.  It may not happen.  Call us early in your case at (215) 999-1443 or contact us – the consultation is always free.