Things You Should Never Do When You Are Collecting Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation
People probably envision a lot of things when they think about a workers’ compensation claim. They probably think about getting injured at work, going to doctors, being out of work while they recover. If they spend a little time pondering the matter, they probably think about filling out forms, dealing with the requirements of the workers’ compensation process, and maybe even about how long it will take before they get their first workers’ compensation payment check.
One thing they might not think about, though, is the kinds of things they absolutely should not do while they are collecting workers’ compensation payments. Perhaps they should because there are some actions that can easily and completely torpedo an individual’s workers’ compensation claim.
In The Workers’ Compensation System, There Are Things You Have To Do, And Things You Should Avoid
Obviously, there are things you have to do to collect workers’ compensation in Wisconsin or in any other state for that matter. These requirements are rooted in Wisconsin workers’ compensation law. The obligations are present in every workers’ compensation claim. Violating these requirements is a good way to get your claim denied. These requirements for Wisconsin workers’ compensation include:
- An obligation to tell your employer about your injury as soon as possible if you believe the injury or illness is work-related. If you do not immediately know or realize that your injury or illness is work-related, then you must notify your employer as quickly as possible once you know that your injury or illness is in fact work-related.
- A duty to submit to reasonable medical treatment. You can choose the medical provider, but you must submit to medical care to confirm your injury, verify that it is work-related, and receive appropriate treatment.
- A duty to undergo reasonable examinations that are requested by your employer’s insurer.
- A requirement is that you inform the physician who treats you for your injury how the injury occurred if you think the injury is a result of your job, and why you think that. If at all possible, you should give this information to your doctor before treatment starts.
Other Requirements Under Workers’ Comp Law
The law imposes a number of other requirements on you, as well, that apply either when you are injured or while you are collecting workers’ compensation. In general, however, the law does not include the things you should not do when you are collecting workers’ compensation. These are the kinds of things that might result in your workers’ compensation claim being denied or canceled.
In a lot of ways, the things you should never do are sort of the polar opposite of the things you should do, but not exactly. If you don’t do the things the law requires, you don’t get to collect workers’ compensation benefits. If you do the things you should never do once you are collecting workers’ compensation, you stand a good chance of losing those benefits, and possibly even having to pay back the benefits you did collect. So what are those taboo acts?
Failing To Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
Some are pretty easy to figure out. Failing to follow your doctor’s advice will make it possible to blame you for your failure to recover as expected. You also will get in trouble with the workers’ comp system if you don’t return to light-duty work when your doctor says you can. Conversely, you will get in trouble if you return to work, light-duty or otherwise before your doctor says you can. Basically, that means you better follow your doctor’s advice, no exceptions.
That also means don’t engage in activities that your doctor tells you that you should not. Beyond that, though, you should never, ever, do so publicly. If your doctor tells you that you are not ready for strenuous activity, then don’t go to the gym to work out. Yes, the gym is public. Similarly, don’t go to bars and party until closing time, dancing with everyone in sight. Don’t go boating with your friends, or rock climbing, or horseback riding, or anything else that seems like it might be something your doctor doesn’t think you’re ready to do, or that you wouldn’t be ready to do if you weren’t ready to go back to work.
Definitely, don’t take videos of yourself doing these things and then posting the videos online. Don’t even do these kinds of things where there is even a chance someone else might take a video of you and post it online. There is always a chance that someone else will take a video of you and post it online unless you are alone in your home, not doing the things your doctor says you shouldn’t be doing.
If you think no one will notice, think again. An insurance company is paying a lot of money for your medical care and for you to not go to work. They are absolutely going to check up on you, this is specifically true when it comes to your social media. Odds are fair someone from your employer’s insurer will be the one taking the videos.
Other Obvious Things You Should Never Do
- Don’t lie to your doctor, to your employer, or to your employer’s insurer about your injury, especially about how it happened.
- If your employer’s insurer talks to you about your accident or injury, do not allow them to record the interview. They will then have an exact record of what you said, and you won’t. No matter how well you think you remember what you said, in any subsequent testimony any differences in your story from the insurer’s recorded version of their interview with you will come back to haunt you.
- Don’t ever assume the workers’ comp adjuster has calculated your average weekly wage correctly.
- If you hire an attorney, don’t lie to your attorney.
- Never hire an attorney without checking them out, getting personal recommendations if possible.
After Any Workplace Injury Talk To A Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Attorney
The dos and don’ts of workers’ compensation claims can get confusing. Sometimes, the worst thing you can do is not hire an attorney to help you through the process. If you have been injured at work or suffered an illness caused by your employment, you need to be sure that you are getting the help you need. This is especially so if your claim is being challenged. Whether that is because of your behavior after you start collecting workers’ compensation or for any other reason.
If you need help with your claim, talk to the Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorneys of Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf. They have the experience and are ready to fight for you, regardless of where you are in Wisconsin. The Gillick attorneys will evaluate your case at no charge, with no obligation to you. Gillick attorneys represent injured employees everywhere in Wisconsin from our Milwaukee offices.