If you must make a phone call about your case to someone other than your attorney, there are steps you must take to insure that you get your message across as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is important to remember that the person to whom you are initially speaking does not have the authority to resolve your question/problem but to pass it on in their organization to someone who may. Editorializing and ‘whining’ about your situation rarely helps – everyone who calls has similar problems.
The office you will call is the Advocate for Injured Workers:
(518) 474-8182 (800) 580-6665 FAX – (518) 486-7510
DO NOTHING WITHOUT FIRST SPEAKING TO YOUR ATTORNEY
If you have an attorney, he should be the one following up! He may tell you that, if you call, you will possibly get a faster response than your attorney. The reason is, no fault of your attorney, is that attorneys call the board all the time and, believe it or not, few claimants do. The other reason is that the Board may ask you why you do not speak to your attorney. Remember that your attorney is your personal case manager and he must know at all times what you are doing. If you do not want him to know what you are doing, then perhaps you should reconsider keeping that firm, or any, attorney.
But if you do call, stick to the facts and be as polite as possible. It will go a long way to getting you help.
Also, keep a diary of all your calls: date, time started, person to whom you spoke, how long you may have been on hold. Ask for a direct phone number rather than going through the ‘switchboard’ or whatever computer-assisted call answering they may have. And write down, LEGIBLY, what you asked and what you were told in the event you must refer to it at some later time.
But in order to do that, you must have all your facts at hand and BE CONCISE. Have in front of you a copy of the most recent decision issued by the Board and the following items written on a sheet of paper so that they are handy if anyone asks you and so you do not waste time on the phone rummaging through papers. The more concise you are the easier it is for them to help and the more likely they will look favorably on your request.
The following list must be done before you make your call. And make sure it is legible.
- Write down the reason for your call: SHORT DESCRIPTION, i.e. waiting months for a decision on an award, medical treatment, etc. or No one has answered my [date] letter to the Board asking ....
- Your name as it appears in your case file
- Your WCB #
- Date of your injury
- Date of last formal document from the Board
- Sites of injury as noted in your file (how you got injured should be limited to 6-7 words: I tripped, I fell, a box fell on me
- Name of your attorney if you have one: the law firm rather than the individual attorney
- Name of your employer (as noted in the file)
- Name of the carrier (as noted in the file)
Once you are ready and the list is done, then make your call and, once you get through to someone, start with the following script:
My name is _______. What is your name? I am calling because _________________ My WCB claim number is _______________for an injury to my ______ dated ________.
Be polite and patient. You are not the first person to call this number asking for help.
Then call your attorney and report what happened.