As a workers’ compensation attorney in Philadelphia for the past 8 years or so, I have witnessed tremendous cynicism from society. It is directed at the injured worker. It stems from a lack of understanding, and I believe, from a media that highlights the negative aspects of our judicial system. Virtually every client of mine voices concern at co-workers who start harrassing them once a claim for a work injury is filed. Until it happens to them, a co-worker is unlikely to understand the insidious effects of a work injury, – not only upon the worker, but his/her family as well. From losing substantial wages, to undergoing treatment for their affliction, from marital strain, to potentially losing a career that was fought hard for, there are many pitfalls of a workers’ compensation claim- and very little incentive to file a false claim. Although it happens, I firmly believe the amount of false claims is exagerrated. For every exagerrated or false claim, there are hundreds of legitimate injuries that occur every day in the work place. This isn’t to say that employers and their insurers do not have the right to investigate and present a defense. Indeed, they deserve to look into claims, review medical records and do their “due diligence”.
I would like to engage in discussion surrounding this cynicism, where it stems from, how it affects injured workers, how it intimidates workers from filing claims, and how we can erode it.