If you have been injured at work in the past and have filed a Workers Compensation claim, you know about the treatment, recovery, and paperwork involved. Depending on the circumstances and severity of your injury, and the geographical location of your workplace, certain laws surely applied to your situation. If it came to pass that you had to hire legal representation in order to receive your benefits, chances are you had to resolve a conflict with your employer. The question now is, does the claim stay on your “record” and will it adversely effect future employment?
It is natural to feel concerned, as a prospective employer may look at such a claim in a number of ways:
- A claim may put you in a less favorable light if you are up for a position against candidates who have not been injured. An employer who suffered a bad experience with a worker and a claim may be hesitant to risk another one, even if you are reasonably healthy.
- Notice of a claim may lead others to think you are not physically capable of the job for which you have applied. This may make sense if your injury had been serious.
Your “record” will always show that you made a claim. Insurance carriers use a computer database capable of storing the skeleton facts of your claim, and that database is never erased. Only insurers have access to this information.
Potential employers may learn of your claim if (1) you tell them; (2) they check references and are told; or (3) they obtain, with your consent, prior medical records. Typically, where physical condition is part of getting the job, a prospective employer might ask for a release allowing them to obtain your prior medical records. You would advise them who your family doctor, or primary care doctor is, and of any other medical care you’ve received. The period requested may vary, but five years is about the norm. Thus, if your claim was 15 years ago, it is highly unlikely it will show up.
What Should You Do?
The idea that you could be turned away from a job on the basis of a past Workers Compensation case may worry you, but realistically, unless your are still injured and cannot perform the new job, there probably is not reason for concern.
If you are asked this on a job application, my advice is to be honest. When you remain honest about your history, you stand a better chance of moving forward in your endeavors.