Can I Ask My Coworkers To Testify in My Vermont Workers’ Compensation Case?
If you suffer injuries in Vermont while on the job, you should be able to rely on your employer to pay you workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that protects employees who suffer injuries while on the job. At a minimum, workers’ compensation should cover medical expenses. Workers’ compensation also covers lost wages. However, the reality is that employers and insurance companies are known for giving employees seeking workers’ compensation benefits a hard time. Your employer or the insurance company could argue that your injury is not work-related. Or, they could claim that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. When that happens, you may wonder if you can ask your coworkers to testify in your case.
So, can you ask your coworkers to testify in your Vermont workers’ compensation case? Yes, you can. In fact, the best witnesses in workers’ compensation cases tend to be coworkers of the victims. In some instances, coworkers are the best and only witnesses. However, your coworkers may not be willing to testify about your work accident or injuries because of the fear of retaliation. Your coworkers may fear that your employer will retaliate against them if they testify in your case. It is vital for employees to understand their rights.
Why Employees Are Afraid of Testifying in Workers’ Compensation Cases
A coworker may be unwilling to testify about your work accident or injuries because of the fear of being retaliated against by the employer. Retaliation is when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in legally protected activity, such as participating in workplace investigations. Examples of retaliatory acts include the following;
- Shift reassignment
- Job reassignment
- Salary reduction
Employees need to realize that there are anti-retaliation laws in place that prohibit employers from retaliating against employees on account of the employees giving testimony or helping in investigations.
How Can a Coworker’s Testimony Help Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If your employer or their insurance company tries to argue that your injuries are not work-related, you can call a coworker to provide testimony. If a coworker saw what happened, they can support your claims that your injury occurred while you were on the job. For instance, a colleague might testify that they saw you slip and fall on a slippery surface or fall off a ladder.
If your employer or the insurance company tries to argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim, you can call a colleague to provide a statement. For example, suppose your employer or their insurance company claims that you only suffered a bump on the head. In such a case, if you lost consciousness and a coworker witnessed you losing consciousness, that coworker can help your workers’ compensation claim.
Additionally, a colleague may have information or documents that are beneficial to your case. For instance, a coworker may have taken pictures and videos at the accident scene. Photos and videos taken at the accident scene can help substantiate how your accident and injuries happened.
Contact a Vermont Workers’ Compensation Attorney
At Sluka Law PLC, we understand the many complex issues that can arise in workers’ compensation cases. Our Vermont workers’ compensation attorney can help you obtain a list of colleagues that might provide valuable testimony. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.