When I Was Hurt On The Job

I didn’t say anything about it at the time, but about a year ago I was hurt after getting a seasonal job during the holidays. It wasn’t my fault, but my boss still guilted me about it — and asked that we keep it “down low” because the injury wasn’t serious. But even a serious injury can end up costing an arm and a leg. Mes amis, urgent care cost me hundreds of dollars just for a few stitches! 

I was laid off after the season was over even though I wanted to keep the job. Later, I went to a workers comp attorney because I couldn’t get the injury — or what I paid — out of my head. The man who listened to my story asked what I wanted out of this, and I said I didn’t know. I told him I wanted to understand my options more than anything else. He was resolute: “It’s not about options. Your boss took advantage of the situation. You should sue.”

I’m not a helpless girl — far from it — but he seemed to think my boss might have assumed that cultural differences between the French and Americans might make it easier to avoid going through workers comp insurance, even though accidents happen all the time and there should have been no problem. In other countries, lawsuits aren’t so common. In other countries, people are sometimes forced to take care of themselves. That isn’t quite the case back home in France, but he probably doesn’t know that. He wasn’t that kind of man.

My attorney and I spoke virtually via video chat in recent months and he helped me decide that suing was my best means of recourse. At the very least, I want my money back. Much of what I made went to paying for medical expenses. But my attorney says I can also file a complaint because I may have lost my job more because I got hurt and less because I was a seasonal employee. So I’m not sure what will happen.

I’m only sharing this story because it’s important to me that other people realize they should never allow other people to get away with taking advantage of them. Business is a complicated world — especially here in the United States — but business owners and big corporations don’t have the right to make their own laws. 

The biggest mistake you can make is to wait. You forget little details you might need to win the case. The judge is less likely to believe your story. My attorney let me know that might be the situation in court — if we go — but that’s a chance we took. He still hopes to settle with the company I worked for, and I let him know that I never want to work there again. I made friends there, but it was a terrible job.

We probably all have those stories.