Workers’ Compensation Can Be a Dirty Business
Warnken, LLC represents workers’ compensation claimants, ie. workers who have been hurt on the job. We began representing injured workers around the time we started representing the Maryland Troopers Association in 1997. Our clients got hurt in their duties as law enforcement officers and they needed someone to handle the claim for them. We generally had somewhere between 3 and 10 comp cases at any given time.
In 2010, Warnken, LLC decided workers’ compensation would become a focus and we would handle workers’ comp for many different industries, not only law enforcement. We now have almost 100 open comp files. We feel we are able to provide top quality representation, and, ideologically, we identify with the injured worker.
We have turned away clients where the situational evidence indicated they were faking it or malingering. This appears to be an unfortunate fact of comp. However, far more than malingering, we see hard working people injured on the job who simply don’t get adequate compensation. From what we have seen, it isn’t malingering that makes workers’ compensation a dirty business, it’s injured workers getting left out in the cold. The examples are numerous.
No story better highlights the dirty business that is workers’ comp better than this one from the Ventura County Star. In the article, criminal charges are being contemplated against a third-party administrator, Sedgwick Claims Management, for failing to follow court orders.
California’s workers’ compensation appeals board said, “We have rarely encountered a case in which a defendant has exhibited such blithe disregard for its legal and ethical obligation to provide medical care to a critically injured worker.” The board continued in an 18-page decision, “Sedgwick CMS, acting as a claims administer for the Kroger Company/Ralph’s Grocery Company demonstrated a callous indifference to the catastrophic consequences of its delays, inaction and outright neglect.”
Like we said, a dirty business. Assuming the allegations are true, we hope not just Sedgwick, but Kroger’s suffers significantly as a result of this. Only by paying the price will things change. If Kroger’s gets off scott free here, why would they change third-party administrators? Defying court orders is simply unacceptable. A workers’ comp lawyer representing claimants would risk losing his or her license because of actions like that. Why should it be different for the employer – insurer – third-party administrator side?
In any event, if you get hurt at work, Warnken, LLC certainly recommends getting an attorney to represent your interests. Whether us or another qualified comp lawyer, our interests need to be protected. The behavior highlighted in this article may well be what you’re up against.