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Injured Worker’s Personal Problems Lead To Dangerous Workers' Comp Claims
By Theodore Ronca - February 2, 2015

There are classes of comp claims that start as ordinary reports of injury but quickly turn into claims nightmares. Among these is the younger worker claim in which an otherwise healthy person develops an inexplicably complicated claim. An explanation that needs to be considered is “trouble at home leads to trouble at work”.
Younger workers often have not yet gained the life experience to deal with routine problems, especially if they are on their own for the first time. A marriage, rather than being a stabilizing factor, often produces confusion. Your correspondent learned early in his career as a comp lawyer that comp claims are often seen as a good way to get rid of a bad marriage. And not just for younger workers. Mid-life claims often have a similar motivation.
An Employee's Private Life Can Be As Much Of A Problem  As The Injury
Anyone can make a situation worse than it is; improvements take skill, especially with claims. The comp investigation process, governed by the carrier, not the employer, is too remote and impersonal to provide the hands-on approach required where an employee’s private life is as much a problem as the injury. This is where sensitive involvement by an employer can prevent a person from using a claim to derail not only a job but a private life.
The employer needn’t intrude – or wait until it earns a degree in counseling. Chatting goes a long way. If there are serious personal problems present they will quickly manifest themselves – no matter what the topic of conversation. Your correspondent, as a lawyer handling workers’ claims, learned the value of seemingly idle conversation with clients. Eventually, the true sources of frustration would surface and the relationship would quickly improve.
Communication Is A Powerful Tool & Neglected Art
Conversation is a powerful tool and is a neglected art. Scowling interrogation produces results – but not the kind you want. Communication skills look effortless but are acquired through a lot of practice. Is it worth the effort? Well, what better way to avoid a $100,000+ claim? Litigation is no substitute.
Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100.

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