Category Archives: workers comp qa

I Told My Supervisor – Why Do I Need To File An Accident Report In Writing?

Today’s post comes from guest author Matthew Funk from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

QUESTION: I TOLD MY SUPERVISOR ABOUT THE ACCIDENT BUT I DID NOT SUBMIT AN ACCIDENT REPORT. AM I GOOD TO GO WITH THE VERBAL NOTICE?

ANSWER: ALWAYS REPORT AN INJURY IN WRITING

Joe was working a construction job when Mike accidentally beaned Joe on the head with a 2X4. After seeing a couple of Tweety Birds and a whole bunch of stars, Joe went down to his supervisor’s station and told him he had just had an accident. Then he went off to the ER to make sure he was not seriously injured, relieved he had taken care of business at the job site. All he had to do now was get better.

No, Joe! No! Yes, Joe satisfied the notice requirement. However, Joe was NOT good to go.

Supervisors sometimes have a funny habit of forgetting conversations or oral notices of an accident. Even if Joe’s supervisor were his best friend, when push came to shove there could be no telling what the supervisor might say in Court front of a Judge. Furthermore, Continue reading

Who Calls The Shots, Your Employer-Selected Doctor Or The Insurance Company?

Insurance companies sometimes tell doctors that they will not pay for procedures that the doctor says are medically appropriate.

Today’s post comes from guest author Nathan Reckman from Paul McAndrew Law Firm.

In Iowa, employers have the right to control an injured worker’s medical care. This means that if you are injured at work, your employer gets to send you to a doctor of their choosing. The doctors chosen by the employer are called “authorized treating physicians.” In theory, after an employer chooses their authorized treating physician, they are required to pay for any care that doctor believes is necessary to treat the work injury. In practice, the employer and their workers’ compensation insurance company often try to interfere with the care the injured worker is entitled to by refusing to pay for procedures or tests recommended by their handpicked doctor.

Typically, when an authorized doctor suggests an expensive course of care (like surgery) the first thing the doctor will do is check with the insurance company to make sure the surgery is going to be paid for. Instead of immediately scheduling the needed surgery, the doctor will wait until the insurance carrier agrees to pay for the procedure. Doctors do this so they don’t have to worry about how they are going to be paid. Asking for this unneeded authorization from the insurance company means the insurance company now has a say in determining what individual procedures are proper for the care of the work injury.

We often see injured workers whose injury was initially accepted by the employer until the doctor requests authorization for an expensive surgery. When faced with the additional cost of surgery, the insurance carrier denies the work injury hoping the injured worker will either forego surgery or try to pay for the surgery through other means, such as their personal health insurance.

This situation may also arise when the authorized doctor recommends expensive diagnostic procedures, like CT scans, or refers the injured worker to a specialist, for example a psychiatrist for depression related to the work injury.

To make sure your rights are protected, it’s often helpful to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side if you’re facing a situation where your employer is trying to interfere with the decisions of their handpicked doctor. Injured workers should get the care that their doctor, not an insurance company, determines is medically appropriate.

How To Select A Good Lawyer For Your Problem

Today’s post comes from guest author Rod Rehm from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

Selecting and hiring a good lawyer is critical in dealing with a legal problem. Lawyers are increasingly limiting the types of cases handled in an effort to provided better representation. The Internet is a common starting point for consumers to locate and select lawyers who have the right kind of knowledge and experience for their problem. I recommend the following steps for selecting a lawyer.

  1. Check with family, friends, neighbors, or others whom you trust and respect to learn if they know of a lawyer or law firm who they would recommend for the kind of problem you are dealing with. This approach is the traditional way to find a professional and often leads to a good attorney-client relationship with satisfactory results.
  2. Consult a general-practice lawyer you know and ask for recommendations. This approach gives you the advantage of having someone who knows area lawyers help you find the right mixture of knowledge and expertise.
  3. Internet searches will turn up a large variety of lawyers who handle the kind of problem you are experiencing. Read several of the websites with a careful eye for the following: a. Is the firm A-rated by the leading peer-rating organization Martindale and Hubbell? The ratings are very good indicators of how the firm is regarded because they come from judges and other lawyers who work with the firm. b. Do the members of the firm appear to be actively involved in organizations dealing with your kind of problem? Are the lawyers officers or board members of such groups? Have the lawyers been speakers at seminars? This kind of activity shows the lawyers are interested in improving and protecting the law for people with your kind of problem and respected by other lawyers and judges. Here are some examples of law organizations. For employment matters, see the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). For workers’ compensation organizations, see the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group. For other personal-injury matters, see the American Association for Justice. For general trial-attorney needs, see the American Board of Trial Advocates. c. Do the lawyers from a firm belong to any organizations indicating that they have been honored or selected for membership based on knowledge and experience? d. Do the lawyers appear to belong the bar associations in their area? Have they served on any committees, sections, or governing bodies?
  4. Go to Martindale and Hubbell and use the lawyer search. You can search for lawyers by city, state, and specialty. Lawyers are rated as follows. AV® Preeminent™ is the highest rating, followed by BV® Distinguished™ then Distinguished. We recommend only A-rated lawyers if they are available. One way to get the best of the best is to limit the search by checking the box “Featured Peer Review Rated.” The website is very user friendly.
  5. Contact the lawyer or lawyers you focus on, and talk to the lawyer. Learn how the lawyer interacts with clients. The following are some questions that might be helpful: Do you feel comfortable talking with the lawyer? Are they Internet users? Will you have a specific team of people working with you? How do they charge? Can you have Skype conferences or do they have other face-to-face conferencing options through the Internet? Will retainer documents be required and available for review before an appointment?

These suggestions provide a framework on how to locate and evaluate an attorney to help you. The references we refer to are industry standards, so they not subject to as much manipulation as other online approaches, such as reviews, testimonials, or video recommendations on lawyers’ websites.

I Filed A Report And Notified My Supervisor. What Else Do I Need To Do?

Today’s post comes from guest author Matthew Funk from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

QUESTION: I filed an accident report at work and notified my supervisor. Do I have to do anything else?

ANSWER: YES! The C-3 claim must still be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Board by the injured worker.

Right before going on a cruise with his lovely wife for their 25th wedding anniversary, Joe got a pretty bad gash on his arm while fixing a pipe at work. The ER fixed him up quickly and when Joe got back to the office, he filed an accident report and then notified his supervisor, Mike in writing. Mike stuck his head out of the office and told Joe he would take care of the rest and to “get the hell out of here and enjoy that cruise!” Thinking he had covered all his bases to receive Workers’ Compensation, Joe gathered up his work gear and headed out to sail the next day to the Caribbean. Stop, Joe! Stop!!

When a worker is injured HE or SHE must file a C-3 Claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board.

It is the worker’s obligation to file this claim, NOT Continue reading

Can I Collect Social Security, A Pension AND Workers' Comp?

Today’s post comes from guest author Matthew Funk from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

QUESTION: IF I AM GETTING SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY (SSD) AS WELL AS A PENSION DOES THAT MEAN I CANNOT GET WORKERS’ COMPENSATION AS WELL?

ANSWER: YOU CAN GET STILL GET WORKERS’ COMPENSATION WHEN YOU ARE RECEIVING A PENSION AND SSD.

At 55, Joe was a walking museum of every accident he had ever had in his 30 years of working the job. That last accident put him out of work for almost two years. Luckily, he filed all the paperwork, submitted all the forms, crossed all his ‘Ts’ and received Social Security Disability (SSD).

But after three decades of hard work, Joe had had enough and so he started the paperwork to retire. But he was worried. He had planned on applying for Workers’ Compensation, but he wasn’t sure he’d could since he was already on SSD and about to receive his pension. What should he do?

File, Joe! File!! The combination of Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability and a pension is called the Trifecta, a Triple Crown of benefits, so to speak. Continue reading

Do I Need To Report My Accident Within 24 Hours?

Today’s post comes from guest author Matthew Funk from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

QUESTION: I DID NOT TELL MY BOSS WITHIN 24 HOURS ABOUT THE ACCIDENT I HAD AT WORK. DOES THIS MEAN I CANNOT COLLECT WORKERS COMP?

ANSWER: THERE IS NO 24-HOUR REPORTING REQUIREMENT UNDER THE COMPENSATION LAW

Joe was working on one of the old boilers at the old Jefferson High School when he tripped over a wrench. Banged up his knee pretty bad. After the ER visit, the X-rays, the knee brace, and the really good painkillers, Joe went back to work intending to let his boss know of his injury and to file Workers Comp paperwork. But one thing led to another and it wasn’t until three days later that Joe remembered he hadn’t told his boss or had filed any paperwork. Joe panicked.

Wasn’t there a rule that in order to file a Workers Comp claim, you had to have told your boss within 24 hours of the accident? That ER bill was steep and paying out of pocket would really blow his already-stretched paycheck. Joe was so pissed he would have kicked the wall if his knee didn’t hurt so much.

Don’t give up, Joe! File, Joe!! File!!

An injured worker does not have to notify his or her employer within 24 hours to collect benefits under the Workers Compensation Law. He or she may have to notify an employer within 24 hours to make sure they are entitled to certain benefits from the employer or their union. BUT the Compensation Law is different. It requires that notice of the injury be provided within 30 day of the accident. This notice can be provided orally or in writing. Keep in mind it is ALWAYS better to Continue reading