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A Work Injury Affects the Entire Family

  • Dave Brown, Esquire
  • 02/01/2021

If you injure yourself at work and think that only you will be affected, think again. Unfortunately, your family will also suffer consequences from your injury. That is why it is of utmost importance that you hire a top workers’ compensation lawyer – a lawyer at Pearson Koutcher Law – to protect you and your family. We’re going to take you through a hypothetical case to illustrate how devastating a work injury could be to not only you, but your entire family.

Suppose you are married with two children, a 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son. You work in a factory and have injured your back and neck moving a heavy machine. You are in constant pain, requiring you to take medication, and because you can only handle light lifting, you are disabled from doing your job. You have never had a workers’ comp. claim before but assume that the insurance company will accept your claim and start to pay you benefits. After all, you reported the injury to your supervisor promptly and went to the local emergency room that day where you were given an out-of-work note.

Don’t be shocked if the insurance company does not accept your claim because insurance companies will deny claims for any number of reasons – nobody witnessed you moving the machine when you were injured, you injured your back in a car accident a year earlier, it was a cloudy day when the claims manager made the decision whether to accept or deny your claim.

If your claim is denied, even with a Pearson Koutcher lawyer representing you and fighting for your benefits, it might be several months before you see any money. “In the meantime,” you ask yourself in a panic, “how do I support my family?” Let’s say that your wife primarily has taken care of the children and also worked a part-time job, 10-15 hours a week. Now, because you’re out of work and not receiving workers’ comp. benefits, she needs to generate more income. Her employer cannot offer her full-time hours, so she has to go through the stressful process of finding a full-time position despite not working full-time since before the children were born – she did not work outside of the house when the children were very young, and then began to do part-time work.

Imagine that it takes a month for your wife to find a job (all the while, the household bills are piling up) and when she does, it’s a 3:00pm-11:00pm job. She has always been home at night when the children do their homework and get ready for bed, and because of these changed circumstances, she cannot. You are now responsible to make sure your daughter and son complete their homework and get to bed on time, which is a role with which you are not accustomed.
All of a sudden, the family dynamics are turned upside down, and your son and daughter can feel the tension. Furthermore, your wife’s job only pays half as much as your job in the factory where you have worked for 10 years. While her income helps, because the normal household income has been cut in half, this causes stress. You fall two payments behind on your car note, and the bank is threatening to repossess your vehicle.

Let’s look at the bright side for a minute and assume that the insurance company does the right thing and picks up the claim. While workers’ comp. does not pay you as much as your regular wages, workers’ comp. benefits are non-taxable so your “take home” pay should be about the same. Does that mean that you and your family will not be subjected to stressors during this time? We’re afraid not. The acceptance of your claim will alleviate the financial pressure, but you will still have to deal with your injury – the pain and your limitations. If you have to rely on pain medication to get you through the day, this may take the edge off your pain, but you may suffer side effects such as drowsiness that may require you to lie down during the day. You may have to participate in physical therapy three times a week or undergo injections.

Because of your injury, you may not be able to do certain things around the house that you normally did before you hurt yourself. For example, you may have shoveled snow when there was a winter storm and cut the lawn during the warmer weather. You also prided yourself on being able to take care of projects around the house such as painting and raking leaves. Now your back and neck injuries prevent you from doing these chores, and as a result, either your family members have to pitch in and do these tasks, or you have to hire somebody and pay them.

How else can work injuries impact you and your family? Because of your injuries and resultant pain and inability to do your job and perform activities around the house, as well as the uncertainty of your future, you may feel anxious and depressed. You were used to getting up and going to work Monday through Friday, and since your injury, things are different as you’re home all day and cannot do household chores which were previously second nature for you. This causes you to be moody and withdrawn, which causes friction between you and the rest of your family. If your symptoms are serious enough, you may have to go to your family doctor or a mental health professional to receive treatment. You may be prescribed an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication. And there is the added worry of whether workers’ comp. will pay these bills.

We’re not trying to spread doom and gloom – we’re just letting you know the reality of what may await you and your family if you’re unlucky enough to suffer a work injury. You need the best on your side to get through this ordeal. At Pearson Koutcher Law, each of our lawyers has more than 20 years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims. We know the law backwards and forwards and are hard-working, compassionate lawyers. Please call us for a free, comprehensive consultation.