Workers’ compensation injuries and financial difficulties often go hand-in-hand. We had a client in his late 60s who decided to mortgage his house to pay for his grandson’s college education, but then suffered a serious workplace injury. Unfortunately, his grandson was unable to find a job and our client was about to lose his home of 30 years. He made an unwise financial decision late in life. Fortunately, we were able to obtain a lump sum settlement that avoided the disaster about to happen.
Counseling services are available to help people learn to budget and pay their bills. Credit unions, cooperative extension offices, military family service centers and religious organizations may offer services for free or at a minimal cost to qualified low-income consumers and homeowners. According to www.usa.gov (www.usa.gov/topics/money/credit/debt/out-of-control.shtml) local non-profit agencies that provide educational programs on money management operate under the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). Debtors should make sure the agency is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Generally, credit counselors look at the debtors’ overall financial situation and help them create a money management plan and a debt pay-down plan and can provide workshops related to money management. For debtors who are forthcoming about their financial situation and commit to the plan, credit counseling with a trustworthy counselor can be a positive experience. While we do not specifically endorse any financial planning group, national programs include Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, a biblically based program (www.daveramsey.com/fpu) and local sources of consumer financial education include Triangle – Consumer Credit Counseling (919-821-0790) and CCCS, A Division Of Triangle Family Services, Inc. (919-821-1770).
Today’s post comes from guest author Roger Moore from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.
Surprisingly, many employers and insurance companies actually believe workers hurt themselves on purpose or at the very least put themselves in positions where they think an injury is likely. We hear this a lot as a basis for not settling claims for existing employees. Employers are worried that it will encourage other employees to get injured as well. What does that say about the particular employer who believes this? Either they are downplaying lots of injuries or they truly believe employees are willfully getting hurt.
The reality is that most of our clients come to us because their injury-related medical bills are not being paid or they’re not being paid for time off from work due to their injury.
In this age of limited, and in some cases very limited, workers’ compensation benefits, you would have to be an imbecile to actually believe people are willingly causing permanent injuries to themselves to cash in on the “windfall” that is workers’ compensation. Who would honestly trade even thousands of dollars for a lifetime of uncompensated pain and suffering? The reality is that most of our clients come to us because their injury-related medical bills are not being paid or they’re not being paid for time off from work due to their injury. The vast majority of them don’t even ask how much they could get for their injuries in their initial meeting with us, as I’m sure is the case with most workers’ compensation law firms.
This is one of a long line of personal-injury myths perpetrated by the insurance industry to make filing a workers’ compensation claim a stigma. It’s similar to the one about “if you file a claim our premiums will go up and they’ll have to shut down the plant.” Shouldn’t the question really be: are we requiring too much physically of our employees, and if so, what can we do to make things safer? Instead, Continue reading