Workers’ Compensation Hell: Getting Through to the Other Side

This post is based on a five-part podcast series that we did with art historian Paul Costa covering the topic Dante Alighieri, his seminal work Inferno, 1800s French sculptor Auguste Rodin, and his famous piece The Gates of Hell. We encourage you to check it out! 

Injured workers who have spent enough time stuck in the workers’ compensation system very well may refer to their experience with the process as hell. 

We’re referring to claims that have dragged on for 6 – 10 months and beyond. The harrowing experience of being stuck in the claim can be equal to, and sometimes worse, than the workplace injury itself.

Here we examine just how these work comp claims can be like hell, specifically from the perspective of Dante’s work, Inferno.

The Injured Worker and Dante

In his poem, Inferno (Pt. I of the Divine Comedy), the author Dante Alighieri tells a tale of himself taking an unexpected trip into hell. This is not unlike the sudden occurrence of a workplace injury or illness.

In Inferno, hell as described by Dante, does not take the characteristic of becoming more ‘fire and brimstone’ as he descends deeper into its circles. As a matter of fact, hell becomes cold. At the bottom it is quite literally frozen over. Things move very slowly, until the point where they are not moving at all, down at the lowest circle.

Similarly, a workers’ comp claim can have a lot of action in the beginning which leads to stagnation and waiting as the claim progresses. At this point, there may be anxiety and tension between the worker and the employer regarding their status at the company, especially if they have not been able to return to work.

There can be a way out, however. We will mention how later in the article.

Deeper into Hell

As Dante navigates through the circles, he meets new characters along the way. An injured worker whose claim has dragged on for a very long time may meet more and more stakeholders who come into the claim.

Lawyers, Nurse Case Managers, and QMEs all have important roles to play in the closing of a workers’ compensation claim, and they often succeed in doing so. Still, other claims can be slowed down by the addition of stakeholders. We’ve mentioned that there can be a game of ‘phone tag‘ between PTPs and adjusters. When additional stakeholders come onto the claim, whose job relies on communication with stakeholders already caught in the so-called phone tag, it may only serve to slow things down more. Since these correspondences can be between any of the stakeholders, the claim can be slowed by magnitudes.

RateFast as Virgil

The poet Virgil assists Dante on his trip through inferno as a guide. Virgil is able to help Dante navigate through the cavernous expanse before him, because Virgil had experienced it himself. It is arguable that without Virgil, Dante may not have made it through hell to the other side.

Many workers’ comp claims remain open indefinitely, never coming to a settlement for the injured worker. It is as if Dante went through the circles without Virgil.

RateFast is a service that writes workers’ compensation impairment reports for any claim, to close them faster, and help come to a satisfying settlement for all stakeholders. No matter how long the claim has been open (even if the claim is brand new!) RateFast can deliver an impairment rating based off of the PTP’s previously taken medical examinations.

In essence, we can guide an injured worker out of hell by helping to close their claim.


When claims drag on, they tend to slow down to a stop. No matter how long your workers’ compensation claim has dragged on, it can feel hellish.

RateFast knows what it’s like, which is why we want to help you if your claim has dragged on for too long. If you have a workers’ comp claim that you want closed, feel free to contact us or visit our website to learn more.

Would you like to quickly make workers' compensation a more profitable and streamlined part of your medical practice? We've got you covered. Click here to check out RateFast Express.

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