Answers to common questions
What injuries are covered under workers’ compensation?
Any injury occurring at work, including aggravations of a pre-existing condition, a gradual onset of symptoms or an illness. Some examples of injuries that occur at work may include sprains, strains, lacerations, contusions, herniations, tears, fractures, from falling, lifting, running machines, bending or any activity while at work. An employee may also have a long standing condition that was made worse due to their work activities. Some common conditions that may be aggravated by work include: degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, hearing loss, prior shoulder injuries and prior knee injuries. A gradual onset of symptoms is called a Gillette Injury. This is commonly seen in repetitive jobs where the employee lifts frequently or uses the same repetitive motions in assembly or packing, resulting in the onset of pain over time. Illnesses may be as result of chemical exposure, heart failure or the consequence of an injury sustained at work.
What should you do after a work related injury?
Report the accident/incident to your employer immediately.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Inform the doctor that you were injured at work, and what body part(s) hurts.
Have your doctor write work restrictions and provide it to your employer.
Follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Contact attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk to confirm that your claim is being handled properly. There is no fee for a consultation, and we can provide you with peace of mind that your interests are being protected.
What happens if the insurer denies your benefits?
The insurer may deny the entire injury, or various benefits like wage loss benefits or medical treatment.
You are entitled to these benefits and you need to act quickly to protect your benefits.
Contact attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk, to file the necessary petitions or objections
Do you have to treat with a company doctor?
In most cases, an injured worker is free to choose their own doctor. However, a physician is considered a primary care provider if seen (3) times.
You are entitled to a second opinion and/or change of physician.
Contact attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk. We protect your right to treat with the doctor of your choice.
What are independent medical examinations?
An independent medical examination is an examination requested by the insurer to be performed by an adverse medical provider. The IME doctor provides his opinion regarding the causation, extent of injury, restrictions, date of MMI (maximum medical improvement), and the extent of your permanent disability. This usually results in extreme ramifications for your benefits. You should contact attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk, to seek immediate advice upon receipt of notice of an examination.
Can I be reimbursed travel expenses for medical treatment?
Yes. Reasonable expenses include bus fares, auto mileage and parking expenses. Keep accurate records and submit the records to your insurer for reimbursement.
What is a qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC)?
A qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) provides rehabilitation services, if you need help returning to work due to your injury. You have the right to choose your own QRC. If you do not, the insurer will refer you to one. There are specific time limits to request a different QRC, if this happens. It is important for you to contact attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk to discuss the selection of your QRC and the services they provide.
What is chronic pain syndrome?
Many injuries cause long-term problems, including permanent limitations on activity and recurring episodes of pain or discomfort referenced as chronic pain syndrome. Chronic pain may even make it difficult to keep a job, cause financial distress, interfere with personal activities, or cause other stress-related illnesses like depression or anxiety. Don’t lose hope; contact attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk, to discuss the effects of chronic pain and what can be done for it.
If I am released by my doctor for light duty or modified work, what happens to my benefits?
If your employer does not have a job available within your restrictions, your benefits should continue even though you are released for light duty. If the insurer files a Notice of Intent to Discontinue benefits (NOID), contact attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk immediately to request an Administrative Conference on your behalf.
Do I need to job search, if my employer does not offer me a job?
You need to job search to be entitled to ongoing temporary total disability benefits if you are released to work with restrictions. You should not sign a Job Placement Plan and Agreement or initiate job search without consulting with attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk. The insurer may use an inadequate job search as the basis to discontinue your benefits.
What do I do if the insurer says that I cannot consider retraining?
Call attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk. The insurer is required to consider the exploration of retraining equally as job search if it will return an injured worker to suitable gainful employment.
What are my rights regarding Social Security Disability benefits?
If your disability stops you from working for at least six (6) months and your recovery will last at least one (1) year from the date you become disabled, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. An application must be completed to obtain a determination regarding these benefits. Also, they must be coordinate with workers’ compensation benefits. Contact attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk to discuss.
Why workers’ compensation benefits versus group disability benefits?
Taxes – Unlike group benefits, workers’ compensation benefits are not subject to taxes.
More Money – Workers’ Compensation benefits may pay at a higher rate.
Medical Coverage – Workers’ Compensation pays all of your medical bills with no co-pays.
Denied – Group disability policies may deny your claim if injury was due to a work related incident.
Should I hire an attorney?
YES. Employers and Insurers encourage injured workers not to hire an attorney. They have their own best interests in mind. Their goal is to close claims as quickly as possible for as little as possible. As such, they may not accurately represent your entitlement to benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Act is complex with numerous required procedures, time limits and specifications that may result in the loss of benefits, if not followed properly by the injured worker. You are at a disadvantage without an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected and you receive the appropriate benefits. Contact attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk to discuss your rights and benefits in complete confidentiality.
If I am not working, how can I afford an attorney?
There is no fee to obtain an attorney. You won’t incur any hourly fees for our legal services. Our fees are based on a contingency of what we recover for you. The insurer is required to pay attorney fees for disputes regarding medical or rehabilitation issues. Contact attorneys Denise Lemmon or Conrad Tanasychuk for a free and confidential consultation regarding your workers’ compensation rights and benefits.
I received a Notice for an Administrative Conference, what is this?
The purpose of an Administrative Conference is to provide an expedited decision in disputes over discontinuance of temporary total, temporary partial, or permanent total compensation and disputes over eligibility for medical or vocational benefits. It is essential that you are prepared to present your case effectively, so that you do not lose your benefits or the opportunity to get your benefits reinstated. If a party is dissatisfied with the outcome of a conference, that party may ask for a de novo hearing in the Hearing Division.
What happens at a Hearing?
A compensation judge will hear testimony by each party and receive exhibits. The compensation judge will then issue a decision. The insurer will have an attorney with a high level of expertise in these proceeding. You need the same level of representation. From the Hearing Division, cases may be appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals cannot consider any new evidence. As such, it is essential that the Hearing record is complete.