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Katherine explains why you should not be scared to file a Workers’ Compensation claim

Host:

 

Fear of retaliation from an employer is a driving force for many scared to file workers compensation, but attorney Katherine Stone from injury Florida Law is here to help put those fears to rest.

 

Welcome, how are you?

 

Katherine:

 

Good, how are you?

 

Host:

 

Well I’m good. I’m so excited to talk about this, but you just got back from a fabulous vacation that I want to talk about as well.

 

Katherine:

 

I just got back from Iceland.

 

Host:

 

Very cool.

 

Katherine:

 

It was amazing there. Cold, but…

 

Host:

 

Would you recommend it?

 

Katherine:

 

I would absolutely recommend it. Yes.

 

Host:

 

And do you also recommend people not being scared to go for that workers comp?

 

Katherine:

 

Yes it’s all about conquering your fears.

 

Host:

 

I like this.

 

So I try to do vacations where I conquer a fear at least once a year. Helps me help clients conquer their fears, with regards to – one, a big topic and one that I’ve just recently come into contact with, on probably three different situations, with clients or potential clients, is the fear of what happens if they pursue a workers’ compensation claim.

 

Like, they’re still employed with the employer, you obviously need the money, you need the job, you don’t want to lose the job.

 

But you’ve also had an accident or injury that should, or you believe should, be covered by workers’ compensation, and several different scenarios have arisen.

 

One in particular, I got a phone call that they had not reported the incident. It was clear several people had seen it, including a supervisor. And not uncommon, supervisors don’t take the action.

 

Or maybe don’t have the training to know that if they’ve seen an accident, they still need to go ahead and file a report of injury. Or at least ask the person, or give them the option of, “Do you need to go seek medical treatment?” And so his fear was that he would be retaliated against by the employer.

 

Well, first and foremost, under Chapter 440, there is a provision that does not allow an employer to retaliate against an employee for either filing a claim of workers compensation or pursuing a claim of workers compensation.

 

Now, it’s not always that easy, because Florida is an at-will employment state. So, pretty much, as long as the employer is not violating any federal or state or local law, they can terminate you.

 

Host:

 

Yeah.

 

Katherine:

 

So we would have to prove the connection. A lot of times, the timing of any retaliation, whether it be a reduction in wages, reduction in hours, or termination, if it’s very, very close in time span to you either reporting the claim or hiring an attorney, that is suspicious and raises red flags.

 

The other situation – and there’s nothing – I can’t guarantee that that won’t happen. It shouldn’t happen, and obviously that’s a completely different claim, and we call that – a word called “retaliation claim” against the employer.

 

However, more often than not, I get phone calls from potential new clients that they’ve already reported the incident, they’ve already sought medical treatment, but things aren’t quite going their way.

 

Or they don’t understand the system. They – they don’t understand how they’re getting paid. They don’t understand why they’re not getting paid.

 

And the question then becomes, “Well, I want an attorney. But is my employer going to retaliate against me?”

 

And I usually tell them, “Well, number one, you already have an open and active workers’ comp case. So if nothing has happened because you filed the claim, your chances are, the fact you get an attorney will not affect that.”

 

Host:

 

Yeah.

 

Katherine:

 

So the fact that, you know, and I tell those that already have a claim pending – that’s one of the first questions we ask – have they accepted the claim?

 

The employer is already going to get dinged with their insurance that they’ve had a claim filed.

 

Host:

 

Yes.

 

Katherine:

 

So I tell clients, you know, again, I can’t tell you that it won’t happen, but it shouldn’t happen. And again, that’s where you could have a completely separate cause of action with regards to work comp retaliation.

 

Host:

That’s so interesting. I’m so glad we talked about this, because I think it’s one of those things that people don’t necessarily think about. Maybe that was your voice inside, you’re a little concerned. Well Katherine, thank you so much for joining us today, and really talking about this issue.

 

If you’ve got workers’ comp questions, or any other legal questions, Katherine Stone is your lady. There’s the information, on your screen, for you to get in touch with her today. Thank you again for your time.

 

Katherine:

 

Thanks.

 

On screen:

 

INJURY FLORIDA LAW FIRM, P.A.

Call Toll Free or Text

1-833-LAW-STONE

Injuryfloridalawfirm.com

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