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LADYLAWYER
LADYLAWYER, Lawyer
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Question in 2 parts: My company paid for my travel from Denver,

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Question in 2 parts:
My company paid for my travel from Denver, CO to Flagstaff, AZ following a work related accident that was not my fault. I have an additional insurance benefit through the company that pays for hospitalization and travel when involved in any kind of accident and payment is directly to me regardless of who pays for any of the bills. My hospitalization was paid for by workman's compensation and my insurance paid their required benefit for being in the hospital. My company purchased my travel ticket on their company credit card and they are refusing to release that payment information so that I may claim my benefit from the insurance that they provided. The benefit would be $500 paid to me. Again, this benefit pays regardless of what entity pays any or all of the bill.
Second is that my company is withholding my personal belongings from a company vehicle that was involved in the accident. They recovered the vehicle and I have been told that my belongings were also recovered and stored in their facility at their company headquarters. They will not release my belongings to anyone else but me and following the accident, I cannot travel the 140 miles to the company headquarters to pick up my belongings in person due to disability. Contained within the belongings are documents that would reinforce that I was not responsible for the accident and may show negligence on the part of the company. I believe they know this and that is why they are making it hard for me to retrieve my belongings. The total value of the belongings comes to around $3,500 (I lived in the company vehicle for up to 6 weeks at a time).
Can I file in small claims court for the value of $4,000 and if so, how do I file when I cannot travel from my city 140 miles to their headquartered city? Are there other options I can pursue with a local attorney? Please note: Most of my receipts for the belongings were in the company vehicle because I was planning to do the prior years taxes during my down time.

LADYLAWYER :

Hello, Thanks for choosing Justanswer.com! I look forward to helping you with legal information today.

LADYLAWYER :

Sorry to hear about what has been going on here with your previous employer.

Customer:

Do you have a response based upon my initial question or do you require more explanation or information?

LADYLAWYER :

If you are in a position to hire an attorney in the city or county where the company is headquartered, I think you will be able to get both the payment information released, as well as your personal belongings, simply by having a demand letter written. The demand letter will threaten legal action unless the company complies with your demands. They are unable to withhold information needed to process insurance claims for employees and they are also unable to hold your personal belongings in the event you are trying to assign someone to be able to pick them up for you. I agree with you about what you believe are their motives in withholding your things; however, I do think you will be able to get this resolved with a simple demand letter.

LADYLAWYER :

Sorry for the delay. I had to reboot and retype my answer.

LADYLAWYER :

To answer your other question, if you have to file a small claims case against them, you may do this with the assistance of an attorney and you will not need to appear at the court house based on your disability.

LADYLAWYER :

If you need to be involved in any hearings, you will be able to do so telephonically.

LADYLAWYER :

Your previous employer would have to compensate you for legal fees and whatever it cost you to file the action in the first place.

LADYLAWYER :

I am most happy to help you with any additional questions you may have about this matter.

Customer:

As a suggestion, it sounds as if I would have to pay attorney hourly fee for a threatening letter. Yet if I do find an attorney who feels confident about the claim, I could pursue small claims and have my attorney fees paid for if the claim settles in my favor.

LADYLAWYER :

When a demand letter is written, it is usually for a flat fee. This flat fee will be included in the demand so that your employer will either have to compensate you for having to hire an attorney to write the letter, or face small claims.

LADYLAWYER :

But there is no need to go through with small claims if you can get what you desire with a letter, including the cost of the letter itself.

LADYLAWYER :

Generally, you are looking at about $250.00

LADYLAWYER :

But yes, you would pay this up front, just like you would have to pay the amount to file the small claims action and your attorney's fees up front if you went to court.

LADYLAWYER :

You can use www.martindale.com in order to find civil litigators or employment law attorneys in the general vicinity of your previous employer.

Customer:

Thank you for your response. This will help me in finding an appropiate attorney and based upon their response and your advice, will aid me in determining if I should use their services. I am happy to rate your service as excellent.

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