Block, Klukas, Manzella & Shell June 2018

June 2018 815-726-9999 | www.blocklaw.com THEBKMS BULLETIN

Shouldering the Burden Will Workers’ Comp Get in the Way of Parenthood?

I love Father’s Day — and not just because it means I’ll get a gift from my kids. Being a dad is one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences of my life. Father’s Day reminds me how lucky I am to be a dad to a couple of beautiful, energetic, courageous young girls. I’m also reminded of how fortunate I am to have the ability to provide my family with financial security. As a lawyer, I’ve met a lot of amazing fathers and mothers who, due to a work- related injury, no longer have that ability and are struggling through a workers’ comp case just to get by. It’s bad enough that an accident at work resulted in someone suffering a physical injury, but a workers’ comp case is often a source of endless stress and emotional turmoil. In our culture, we tend to put our identities into our careers and the work we do. When a person suffers a work-ending injury, their very identity comes into question. Additionally, they lose the ability

would have quick access to the benefits they are entitled to, but that’s rarely the case. Insurance companies work hard to discredit workers’ comp claims at any opportunity, and they have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. They might request vocational rehabilitation and fault someone for not meeting the requirements of finding a new job. Or they may request a utilization review, which is when a new physician is hired to check that you are following guidelines that have been written by insurance companies. Any discrepancy can be used as justification to refuse to pay for additional treatment. Maybe they’ll insist on an “independent” medical evaluation, sending a doctor paid by the insurance company to evaluate you. And when the insurance company is signing their checks, it’s safe to suggest that doctor is being encouraged to produce a specific outcome — one that makes you kiss your benefits goodbye.

personal experience, I have seen many marriages crumble into divorce after a workers’ comp case is added into the mix. Additionally, a work-related injury can erode a person’s relationship with their kids. When someone is too hurt to play catch, or surgery keeps them from being able to sit through the school musical, they start to miss out on the special moments in their children’s lives. And those are some of the most important, special parts of being a parent. One reason I’m so proud of the work I do is because it gives me the opportunity to help parents like myself when they are faced with an endless struggle. Workers’ compensation cases will always be a stressful, exhausting experience. But I have seen how much better things can be when someone has an attorney on their side. We know the tricks the insurance companies like to play and can shoulder some of the burden, making a client’s recovery just a little bit easier.

“LIVING WITH THE POSSIBILITY THAT YOUR WORKERS’ COMP BENEFITS CAN BE TURNED OFF AT ANY MOMENT IS EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTING.”

to provide for their family, which can be a blow to a person’s sense of self-worth if they’ve traditionally acted as their family’s breadwinner.

Living with the possibility that your workers’ comp benefits can be turned off at any moment is emotionally exhausting. Thanks to all the added stress, a workers’ compensation case can threaten the stability of a family unit. I don’t know what the nationwide statistics are, but in my

In a perfect world, when a person is injured in a work-related accident, they

–Brya n Shell

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