WC Nightmare...Disappeared Employee gets Attorney

I posted this worker's case before...about an employee who "disappeared" while on worker's comp, who had been injured on 05-31-2001 ( which was the very first day we knew about his injury ) and that this employee had not kept in touch with us.At the end of last year, we sent him his accrued vacation check in full - which was cashed. Our letter asking him to contact us, which was sent to the same address as the check - was refused and returned to us. His telephone was disconnected. I considered him terminated on 12-31-2001, as we could not get in touch with him. I have maintained a complete file on this case.

Now, I received today 05-22-2002, a written request from his attorney for the name/address/policy # of the prior WC insurance company from 12-12-1999 to 02-03-2001 ( which was BEFORE the injury ! ) Note ,that this employee was rehired on 12-06-1999. We called the attorney's office, to ask them to explain the dates requested...the attorney's office stated that the involved doctor claimed that this was a gradual case - back to rehire date -of the work leading up to the eventual injury ! We faxed the information requested, and notified our insurance broker of this case.

Our Worker Comp rates have already skyrocketed. And now this !


  • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Well, you certainly did the right thing by providing the information and keeping a complete file. The attorney could have found out the information about the prior carrier from the state worker's comp agency or by sending you a subpeona.

    I sympathize with your situation, but at this stage, all you can do is be available to provide information to the carrier if they challange the claim (which seems likely). Just be glad that this employee is an ex-employee.

    Good Luck!!

    PS. Be certain that you don't take any steps that could be considered retaliation for filing a claim. For example, if this employee applies to be rehired, the reason for not rehiring him should be that he did not contact the company as required when he was on leave, not that he made a claim. Also, if your company is ever asked for a reference, it should give a neutral reference about dates of hire and position held, and not give out any opinion about whether his claim was in good faith.

  • Speaking of 'ODD ONES', I'm preparing stuff for a supervisory training session next week and among the weird cases I'm covering is this: A Michigan appellate court has ruled that a probation officer who claimed he could no longer work because of depression brought on by his suspension for sexually harassing female public defenders was entitled to comp benefits. A dissenting judge on the appeals court attempted to infuse some logic into the situation by noting that it would be implausible to allow a 'serial sexual harasser, to profit from his misdeeds. The majority, however, adopted the reasoning of the trial judge, who found that 'WHILE THE HARASSER HAD SUFFERED A SELF-INFLICTED INJURY...COMPENSATION, LIKE RAIN, FALLS ON THE JUST AND THE UNJUST ALIKE'.
  • Update: We received a demand letter from Attorney of employee on WC. Letter
    demanded of us ( and the WC carrier that we had prior to the injury ) documents, benefits, compensation, witness lists, medical records - the whole nine yards. The letter was dated April 15,and mailed by the Attorney on May 23rd.I made copies of everything and and sent it to our present WC carrier, for them to handle with the Attorney.

    I get the feeling that the employee ran out of benefits from the present WC carrier, and is trying to get more from the WC carrier prior to the injury.The letter states that the case is going to the WC Appeals Board.
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