Tread Lightly: Analyzing a Statement from an Injured Worker Containing Red Flags
In preparing for our upcoming session at WCI, we talked about how simple statements can have hidden consequences and should immediately be viewed as a red flag.
Here’s an example:
“My wife is going to drive me to the IME.”
One could substitute “my wife” for any close friend or family member. The support of family and friends is critical in recovery, but we must remember there is a personal and emotional attachment. As a result, the views and opinions from the friend or family member will likely be introduced.
The close friend or family member may very well plan to drive, but life is predictably unpredictable. Here are some of the situations which may present themselves:
Close friends and family members offer support, not chauffeur services.
- There is confusion regarding the date/time of the appointment.
- Traffic was not taken into consideration.
- The method of transportation is unreliable, or they have no gas.
- Mileage reimbursement gets messy.
- The close friend or family member injures themselves helping the injured worker into the vehicle when a wheel-chair lift should have been utilized.
- The parties were involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Lastly, we’ll look at the appointment type. In this example, we used an IME, but any medical appointment could have been used. If the IME was missed, here are some of the consequences:
- No-shows typically range from $600 to $1500.
- The appointment must be rescheduled (usually 4-8 weeks).
- Depending on the jurisdiction, if you were expecting a work release, indemnity likely continues.
- Additional time accumulates to develop adversarial perceptions.
Bottom line: In claims, look out for simple statements like, “My wife is going to drive me to the IME.” It’s a red flag when close friends and family members get involved in transportation services and may result in hidden consequences.
When red flags like this present themselves, get ahead of it and utilize a trusted transportation vendor.