How To Make Sure You Are Compensated

Whether it's a worker’s compensation lawsuit, a vehicle accident, or anything else, how to make sure you are compensated for the time you missed at work.

Workers' Comp Case

So let's first discuss workers' compensation before discussing what you can do to build your greatest claim for lost income. In a workers comp case, unlike one involving a car accident, a fall, or another similar event, you are theoretically supposed to be paid while you are off work on a weekly or biweekly basis in the same way that you receive your paychecks, but the pay is supposed to come from the workers’ comp insurance, so that's a nice advantage over a case involving a fall or a car accident. It is easy to understand why there is an advantage in workers’ compensation claims since in those situations, all of your losses are reimbursed after the case.

Everyone has a rent or mortgage bill due every month and waiting two years to get a lump sum of money in a personal injury case can be difficult, who has two years of rent saved up, not many people, but in a workers comp case you're supposed to get paid what's called TTD (Temporary Total Disability) as the weeks go by. But, in a workers' compensation case, the best approach to ensure that you are paid is to make sure that every time you go to the doctor, you acquire an off-work letter, which is known as a work status note. I call it an off-work note since everyone understands what it is, but a work status message is perhaps a better word.

There are three possible outcomes: 

You will receive a note from your doctor directing you to resume full-time employment; you will receive a note stating that you must refrain from working at all; you will receive a light duty or restricted duty note directing you to work for no more than four hours per day while refraining from repetitive bending or stretching, or you will receive a note directing you to work but only for one hour per day while remaining seated. The restriction will be dependent on your doctor's assessment of what you are now capable of doing, or they can work but only right-handed tasks. You get the idea.

Every time a new work status statement is issued by your doctor, submit it to me, the employer, or the workers’ compensation insurance since that is what you need to have to offer yourself the greatest chance of receiving compensation for your time off work. I always advise this to my workers’ compensation customers. Now, what about a car crash case, a vehicle accident case, a fall down case, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, a dog bite case, whatever it is if you're unable to work these are the things I look for. If you don't have an off-work note, they've got a fantastic defense to paying you they'll cut you off.

I seek confirmation from the doctor that you are unable to work on your medical records. We need to make sure you take time off of work based on what your doctor says because if his or her notes indicate that you're healthy and capable of doing everything you want to do while you're off work, we have a credibility issue. If you're saying you can't work but the person who is the medical professional says you can, that's going to make the case difficult. Another thing people need to know about third-party cases is that they often progress quickly.

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Why File Taxes

Why is that necessary, you ask, "Why do you want me to file taxes?" Well, it's not me; it's the court. We have to make sure you have been doing it. Therefore, many courts will dismiss your claim if you haven't filed taxes for years before, during, and following your injury. They'll say that if you don't have tax evidence proving that you were employed and that you missed some time, the judge will dismiss your claim. If you stop to think about it, that isn't unreasonable.

Can you imagine that a judge who pays taxes and a jury of 12, most of whom will be employed or retired, will decide your case? If you say, "I was making $50,000 a year as a mechanic, but it was cash under the table, and I'm a little behind on my taxes, I don't want to pay my taxes," then I'll tell you if the jury thinks you're a cheat or if the jury is annoyed by your behavior. It's a good idea to get your taxes in order since they won't want to pay you money in your case.

Anyway, you know we don't want to do anything in front of the jury that makes a jury dislike or distrust you. So, those are the things you have to do: you have to make sure your time off work matches up with what the medical records say, and you have to make sure you have your tax records, which include your w-2 from your employer and the actual tax records for the year before and the year after. Now, if you hire me and want to file a wage loss claim while we're still in the year that you were injured, it won't be a big deal if we're in the settlement stage, but if we file a lawsuit, it will take us a year to two years, and sometimes even longer, to fully investigate your case or set it for trial. At that point, you will be in a position where you will have filed tax records for the year.

That's essentially the most crucial information you need to know to put your best foot forward in terms of receiving compensation for your missed wages and time at work, whether it's due to workers comp.

So, if you have any queries, please give me a call; I provide a free consultation and am available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I'm pleased to speak with you; if you have any questions, please contact me at 312 500 4500.

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About the author - Scott D. DeSalvo

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