In the event of a dispute in your workers’ comp case, it’s important to produce adequate evidence. This may include testimony from a coworker – particularly if there is a dispute concerning whether or not your injury occurred at work. Of course, there can be some challenges in getting a coworker to testify in your favor in a workers’ compensation hearing.
How a Coworker’s Testimony May Help a Workers’ Compensation Case
One situation in which testimony could be helpful is when the employer or insurance company tries to argue the injury isn’t work-related. A coworker might have observed the accident; for instance, saw the employee fall off a ladder, get struck by a forklift or tumble down the stairs.
But it’s not just injuries that could be challenged. An occupational disease may be blamed for something other than the work environment. Therefore, a coworker might provide testimony regarding exposure to a hazard such as asbestos or silica.
Obtaining Testimony from a Coworker
The first issue may be getting a coworker to agree to testify, since there could be fears of losing his/her job or otherwise facing retaliation from the employer. Of course, an employer cannot terminate someone because of testimony provided in a legal matter. Yet that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
The employer could find another “reason” to justify that decision and the employer may not terminate the other employee right away. It might not occur until the incident has been resolved, which would make it harder for a coworker to blame a firing on having provided testimony in the workers’ comp case.
Therefore, a coworker might outright refuse to provide testimony. It’s important for an injured employee to understand these concerns and not rely solely upon someone else’s statement in a workers’ comp case. There are other forms of evidence that can (and should) be used.
Other Types of Evidence That Can Help in a Workers’ Comp Case
When the dispute surrounds an injury being work-related, there may be other ways to show it occurred at work or in the course of employment. An example would be the notice of injury that the injured worker provided to the employer. Under workers’ compensation law in Iowa, the injured worker must give notice of injury to the employer within 90 days. So by producing notice of injury, it would at least show that after the accident, you informed the employer.
There may have been video surveillance that captured the incident and can prove it occurred during the scope of employment. This may be the case, for example, if you were performing work at another commercial establishment that had surveillance cameras on the premises. Perhaps a third party who doesn’t work for the employer might be willing to provide a statement regarding how your injury occurred and what you were doing when it occurred.
Discuss any questions concerning testimony from a coworker with an attorney. Regardless, a lawyer may be helpful if there are problems securing the benefits to which you are entitled. If in the Des Moines area, call Walker, Billingsley & Bair at (888) 435-9886 to set up a free initial consultation to discuss your case.