Workers’ compensation is about human beings. Every injured workers is father, or a mother, a grandmother or grandfather, son, or daughter. This gentleman in the picture is my father. A dedicated husband and a loving father and grandfather. He is an injured worker. He has enough metal in his leg to turn on every alarm sensor at the airport security check.
L&I claims are all about people
Lately I’ve been having more and more conversations aimed at humanizing the workers’ compensation claim process. Sure, workers’ compensation is an administrative process. However, I often have to remind administrators, claim mangers, attorneys, and even judges of the profound impact each L&I claim has on injured workers, their families, and their friends.
In fact, I would say that most people with work injury that contact me for representation are just looking for someone who will treat them like human beings. These people aren’t numbers. They aren’t rates. They aren’t return to work statistics. And they are most certainly not a cost exposure. They are wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, and best friends.
Part of my job is to bridge the gap between the very human experience of being an injured worker, with the seemingly unfeeling callousness of the administrative process. In that role I often change hats, switching between adviser and negotiator. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always do it with as much grace and professionalism as I’d like. When I’m upset about something, there’s rarely any hiding it.
Empathy versus Sympathy: The role of a workers’ compensation attorney
Years ago, I read an article about the difference between sympathy and empathy. Empathy is the term applied to understanding other people’s feelings. Sympathy is when we take part in someone else’s feelings. Since then, I’ve tried to be empathetic in my representation of people with work injuries without falling into the emotional pitfalls of sympathy. Through empathy I am able to humanize the administrative process without becoming so personally emotionally invested that I lose sight of my role in the process.
Focusing on empathy without sympathy is part of what fuels my passion for representing injured workers in their L&I claims and workers’ compensation claims. On September 12, I’ll be participating in PWC’s Annual Point/Counterpoint presentation from 5:30-8:00 pm. During the presentation I’ll have an opportunity to bring empathy into the discussion and represent the injured workers’ perspective on a number of issues. I’m looking forward to yet another opportunity to be a voice for injured workers. If you can, come join us for this incredible event or look up more information here: https://www.pwc.org/events/
And… Please stay safe out there…