Posted on: 4 August 2015Share
Were you recently injured in an accident at work but too timid to hold your employer accountable for the unsafe circumstances that caused it? Getting the compensation you need for injuries sustained on the job can be complicated, especially if you have not been completely disabled. Working part time or light duty while pursuing legal action for your injuries strains the critical relationship you have with your employer. After all, the status of your employment depends on a satisfactory relationship with the person who signs your paychecks. You may worry that asserting yourself over the fact that inattention to safety conditions--say, a wet floor not marked with caution signs--caused your injuries might prompt your boss to make your job miserable or even find a way to terminate you. How do you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and maintain good relations with your boss?
Stand in your employer's shoes
Start with looking at the situation from your employer's point of view. Unfortunately, many people manipulate slip and fall injuries to collect money they don't truly deserve, so there is a common misconception that these injuries are manufactured rather than genuine. In reality, only three percent of slip and fall claims are fraudulent, but this amounts to two billion dollars a year in litigation costs.
Your employer may stand to lose financially in other ways as well if you win your personal injury case. The potential impact includes
increased workers compensation premiums
expensive repairs to satisfy code compliance issues triggered by your claim
costs for in-service training or policy implementations to prevent future injuries
While you and your employer may previously have been on good terms, understand that addressing your personal injury claim is going to hit right in the company pocketbook.
Especially if you have a personal injury attorney handling the day to day elements of your case, you can afford to concentrate on communicating respectfully with your employer. Greet him/her when you pass in the hallway. If you were on personal terms prior to your injury, do what you can to maintain the relationship by asking about family members' well-being or about situations you've discussed in the past. Handle business interactions with professional conversations, emails or voicemails.
Given that you have injuries that clearly affect your quality of life and the workload you can reasonably carry, do what you can to conduct yourself with integrity. Don't complain to your employer or try to gain sympathy. What you can do within the scope of your limited work duties, do as cheerfully and as efficiently as possible so that your employer doesn't have grounds to accuse you of malingering. However, make sure to set limitations on any duties asked of you that would aggravate your injuries; do so with firm respect and help find a solution, so the task is accomplished some other way.
It takes patience and wisdom to maneuver successfully through a genuine slip and fall injury to win your case without losing your boss. On the one hand, you need rightful financial award so that you can pay your medical bills and adjust to any debilitating physical limitations. On the other hand, you need to maintain a professional working relationship with your employer. While tricky, this can be done, especially if you look to your attorney for specific advice about your particular circumstances. The good news is that 80-90% of personal injury cases are settled without a trial, so chances are yours will be as well. You'll come out the other side with the money you deserve and the job you need.