Many injured workers do not file a worker’s comp claim because they are afraid of the backlash they’ll receive from their employer or co-workers.
Many injured workers can experience workers compensation stigma, a phenomenon where others may accuse them of trying to get out of working for a while and pocketing a few extra bucks.
It’s because of such reasons that many work-related injuries don’t even get reported (about half each year, as estimated by OSHA.) That can, unfortunately, mean a lot of workers may face some serious complications later on down the road.
But workers compensation is nothing more than an insurance policy put in place to help the injured worker get better by covering the medical costs of their treatment and even accounting for the lost wages.
Here are some of the most common reasons that lead to workers compensation stigma, and how to overcome them:
- The Employer Will React Badly – Many workers fear that reporting their injuries and asking for workers compensation will automatically get them on their employer’s bad side. Some even fear they might get fired if they do. If your employer has ever even suggested that this is the case, they are breaking Missouri law. Your employer does not have the right to fire you because you filed a workers compensation claim, nor do they have the right to treat you differently. And if they do, you need to contact a St. Louis workers compensation attorney immediately.
- Colleagues May React as Well – Co-workers can also have a part to play in promoting workers compensation stigma for a variety of different reason. It can be so as to create an idea that it is shameful to file a workers compensation claim and start treating the injured workers differently because of it, even excluding them from the group. However, it’s a very big mistake to base this decision solely on what your colleagues might think, or how they might treat you after the accident. Workers compensation benefits are a legal right that extends to all the employees.
- You May Feel Ashamed – Sometimes, the pressure can come from within. Many workers feel that workers compensation is like charity, and are too proud to file a claim. However, it’s nothing like that. It is just an insurance policy meant to help you get back on your feet after an injury. You shouldn’t have to bear the costs of treatment for an injury sustained at work.
Discuss Your Case with a Workers Compensation Lawyer
It’s very unfortunate, but the stigma surrounding workers compensation sadly leads to many injuries going unreported each year. Sometimes, workers try and get treatment on their own. But, if they cannot afford it, then they ignore the signs, which can put their health at even greater risk.