My experiences with Workers' Comp

In late 2014 I was injured on the job, and I reported the injury as required. At that time I had no knowledge of the Workers' Compensation system, or what to expect (outside of reporting my injury to my employer) and there was no information posted at my workplace to help me. 

Several weeks after my injury I found out that the Urgent Care and subsequent referred doctor visits had not been paid, so I asked the doctor's billing clerk to call the insurance company to find out what was going on. It turned out that the insurance company had not bothered to report the injury to the Labor Board. The statutes I've read since then require prompt reporting of a worker's injuries by the insurance company, but they evidently did not feel the need to comply with the law. The Workers' Comp injury report was not filed by them until nearly a month had passed after the injury, and amazingly, right after I had asked the doctor's office to call them.

When the insurance company did finally report my injury to the Labor Board, they at the same time and completely without cause, also controverted my claim. They actually asked for a denial of claim for 6 months, but the Labor Board generously only allowed them 3 months. Evidently, the insurance company is not required by any entity or law to show just cause as to why a claim should be denied. 

Because of this, I had to file for a hearing and wait additional time for a decision, which would then hopefully be in my favor. It was indeed decided in my favor, and I finally began to receive treatment for my injuries 5 & 1/2 months after I had sustained them. In no way is this acceptable. My injuries had by then passed out of the time of most beneficial treatment, and I now had chronic complications, which could have been nonexistent with proper and timely treatment. This has put me way behind in my recovery, and has caused debilitation where there should have been improvement.

I believe that the Labor Board does try to be helpful, but in many instances they could benefit by better education and information, and have an improved means of making that information available to all. 

Insurance companies should never be allowed to controvert claims without a timely medical evaluation by a doctor or doctors who have no vested interest in deciding in the insurance companies' favor.

There also should be strict enforcement of compliance with the existing laws, exacting high enough penalties to be felt even by the well-buffered insurance companies. 

I sincerely hope that HB2161 HD1 is passed, as it will be helpful in alleviating many of the problems that I, and others, continue to encounter with the Workers' Comp system.

Thank you,

Deborah Ripley

Work Comp FAQs

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