Some people are born lucky … some aren’t. If you happen to be one of the less lucky guys who has gotten hurt on the job more than one time, this one’s for you.
First, you need to know that the insurance company will know about your earlier accident. The insurance industry keeps a database of people who have had claims before, and if you have gotten worker’s compensation benefits before, you are in the database. That means that if you are ever asked about whether you have had a claim before, you should come clean about it. Trying to hide things is a sure-fire way to get your case referred to the fraud unit.
There are two ways that your current case will be impacted by the fact that you have had a claim before: one legal, the other practical.
From a legal standpoint, the fact that you have had a prior case only makes a difference if you have an injury to the same body part in your earlier case. Then, in theory, your employer would get a credit for the loss that you had in your earlier case. By way of example, if your first case was settled for 20% of the use of your arm and you have a second accident which results in you having a loss of 25% of the use of your arm, you would only get 5% of the arm as a settlement.
If the first accident involved a different part of the body from your second accident, from a legal standpoint, there would be no difference in what you would be able to get for a settlement. However, having had a case before has a practical impact which may be much more important than any legal effect that comes from your first case.
Remember, the insurance company will know that you have had a case before. Once have a second accident (or a third, or a fourth, etc.), the insurance company is going to regard you as a “frequent filer” who knows how to “game the system” and this attitude towards you and your case multiplies the chances that your case will be reviewed and re-reviewed and that will end up causing you problems as your case goes forward.
What does that mean for you? It means that you are more likely to be sent for an “IME,” have your treating doctor’s recommendations questioned, to have your records reviewed by an outside “expert,” and so forth …. all in the name of finding some justification for cutting off your benefits and lowering the amount of money they have to pay you.
When you are line for those kinds of hassles, it means that it is time to get legal help – before you get cut off and don’t have any money coming in the door or access to quality medical care.
If you have a current worker’s compensation issue which you need help on, please feel free to reach out to our office by calling us at 312-263-1080 to discuss your issues and what options you have. There is no obligation to hire our law firm, and there is no charge for the call.
I hope this has been helpful, and if you know anyone who can benefit from this kind of information, please feel free to share this.
We are here to help truck drivers after an on-the-job accident. Knowledge is power, and the first step in protecting your rights is to know what they are.