Recovering From a Nightmare: Assaulted Employee Returns to Work in 10 Weeks

Posted Date: September 05, 2017
    

Industry InformationOur System at Work

A close partnership between an injured employee, his employer, and the company’s workers compensation insurer helped the individual fully recover following a violent workplace robbery.

TIMELINE

  • Employer files claim two days after injury occurs
  • Insurer contacts employee the same day claim is received
  • Insurer and vocational rehab specialist create return-to-work plan
  • Employee starts treatment and receives physical therapy for eight weeks
  • Employee returns to work after 10 weeks

A VIOLENT ATTACK

John, the shift manager, was assaulted during a robbery of a fast food restaurant owned by JRN, Inc. Three robbers knocked him down and beat him with a gun, cutting him deeply and dislocating his shoulder.

Despite this nightmare, however, John was back at work within 10 weeks, thanks to his tremendous drive, the commitment of his employer, and the hard work of the company’s workers compensation insurer.

A UNIFIED RESPONSE

Because the attack happened at work, John benefited from the workers compensation system.

This formal process paid his medical bills, provided a portion of his former wages, and—most importantly—offered dedicated resources that helped John recover and return to work.

Two days after the attack, John’s employer notified its workers compensation insurance company, Liberty Mutual, of the attack.

That same day, Liberty Mutual contacted John, confirmed the details of the incident, explained the workers comp process, and followed up by emailing him a summary of the claims process to help put him at ease.

Throughout his recovery, Liberty worked with John to see how he was doing, discuss further treatment, plan his eventual return to work, and address any questions or issues as they arose.

For example, Liberty Mutual informed John’s group medical insurance that all bills related to the tragic attack should be sent to them, since treatment was for a work-related injury. This addressed a huge concern for John.

The insurer marshalled a host of dedicated resources to help John fully recover from the attack and return to work.

WORKERS COMPENSATION ELEMENTS OF SUCCESS:

  • Employer took immediate action, responding quickly to the injury and the claim
  • Injured worker had all of the information about the claims process and the tools he needed to help him make informed choices about his care
  • A vocational rehab specialist worked with the employer, injured employee, and treating physician to ease the transition from rehabilitation to return to work
  • The agreement between all parties to allow the manager to ease back into his job duties gradually gave the employee the confidence and peace of mind needed to successfully return to work

HELPING JOHN RETURN

Among those resources was a vocational rehab specialist, who developed a plan for John’s return to work and reviewed it with John, his treating physician, and employer.

The plan eased him back to work on temporary light duty, rather than waiting until he could perform all of his prior duties. This helped him adjust and eventually return to his former position.

Another resource was a physical therapist, who helped John get ready for the physical tasks required by the position.

As John focused on his rehabilitation, Liberty Mutual continued to work with the restaurant, treating physician, vocational rehabilitation specialist, and physical therapist.

Because of John’s drive and determination, the welcoming attitude of his employer, and the efforts of Liberty Mutual, he quickly returned to his former position, although—per his request—at another restaurant location.

The value of the workers compensation system in general, and the steps taken in this specific case, can be seen in a note from John during his recovery.

"I would like to thank everyone that was involved in my recovery,” he wrote before returning to work. “It has been a long eight weeks but the results are very positive. I have been given a second chance to be involved with a new restaurant, managers, and team members ... I couldn’t ask for more than this."