Do I Really Have to Give My Adjuster My Medical Records for the Last Ten Years?
We know. We get it — and we agree with you. It’s absolutely ridiculous that the adjuster would demand this of you. Not only is it a huge pain, but it’s a huge invasion of your privacy. Nevertheless, the Industrial Commission routinely allows for this to happen.
The problem is, on paper, this sounds like a way for the adjuster to check for fraud. However, what the Industrial Commission fails to take into consideration is the human side of things. There’s no rule to prevent your adjuster from sharing your records with your coworkers. If this happened, it would be a huge invasion of privacy.
If you sustained a knee injury at work, why would the adjuster need to know if you’re taking birth control, or if you broke your arm five years ago, or if you have asthma? We do understand that they might need to know if you’d had a previous knee surgery before you were injured at work, but anything not related to your injury is unnecessary.
That’s why it’s important to us that we fight for our clients’ right to privacy. We make every effort to limit this horrible intrusion. Dealing with a workplace injury is difficult enough; you shouldn’t have to add worrying about your privacy.
If you’re concerned about your privacy, don’t hesitate to call us. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar has the experience, knowledge and commitment to protect your rights.
What is a Mediation?
If you’re dealing with a workers’ comp case, it’s possible that you might have to have a mediation. But what exactly is mediation? Also known as a mediated settlement conferences, mediations are informal meetings where a neutral party will hear both sides of your case and help you work out a compromise. If that happens your case can settle there.
There are several reasons why your case might go to mediation. For example, if your claim is denied, the Industrial Commission will probably order your case to mediation before it goes to a hearing.
Another reason you might go to mediation is if your case has gone on for a long time. The Industrial Commission will want to see if mediation can help wrap up your case in a satisfactory way for both parties.
However, just because you are required to go to mediation doesn’t mean it has to end in any kind of agreement. The only requirement is that you are there — which means if you are uncomfortable with the compromise suggested in mediation, you don’t have to agree to it. If you do reach an agreement, it will be written up, and boths sides will be asked to sign it. Once that happens, the decision is final: there is no backing out.
Another good thing to keep in mind is that the objective of a mediation isn’t necessarily to settle your case. In many instances, you and your case might not be ready for settlement. But that doesn’t mean your mediation is a waste of time. You can still come to agreements on other things such as a change of physicians, approval of surgery, raising your weekly checks etc. These things will put you on a much faster route to settlement and ensure that you’re getting a settlement that’s fair to you.
Mediations may seem scary, but they aren’t! We’ve done thousands of them, and we’ll be happy to guide you through yours. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar has the experience to stand up for you.
How Many Hours Do I Need to Have Worked to Receive Social Security Disability?
Social Security can be a great help to injured workers in the United States. However, in order to qualify for these benefits, there are several requirements you’ll need to meet. One such requirement is to have worked a certain number of hours. Often, I have clients ask what those requirements are.
The first thing I tell them is that they need to make sure their disability meets the following:
- You are unable to do the work you did before
- Your work cannot be adjusted due to your injuries
- Your disability has or will have lasted one year or will result in death
If you meet these minimum requirements, the next step is to look at whether you’ve worked enough hours, recently enough, to qualify for Social Security Disability. This is determined through Social Security work credits.
Credits are based on your wages. In most cases you need 40 credits to qualify for SSD, and 20 of those credits need to have been earned in the last 10 years. It’s possible to earn up to 4 credits each year.
While this is an average, there are many factors to take into consideration. For instance, younger workers who become disabled often don’t need as many credits to qualify for SSD. That’s why it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney. We can help guide you through your case.
If you qualify for Social Security Disability, don’t hesitate to speak with someone about your case. At Oxner + Permar, we offer a free consultation to ensure you’re taking the next best steps with your case.
What Is Considered Contributory Negligence?
North Carolina is one of the few states in the US that still uses contributory negligence as a way of deciding whether or not an injured party can earn a settlement. The court will look at whether or not your negligence caused your accident. If your negligence contributed to your accident in any way, you could lose your settlement.
Let’s say you’ve been injured in a car accident. Any observer of this accident would agree that it was the other person’s fault. However, what was less easy to observe was the fact that you were speeding. When this case goes to court, they will look at whether or not your speeding caused your accident in any way.
The court determines that if you hadn’t been speeding, there’s a possibility the crash wouldn’t have occurred. Because of this, the court will be unable to award you any money in your settlement. This is because your speeding is considered contributory negligence.
However, if the court had determined that the crash would have happened regardless of whether or not you were speeding, then it would not be considered contributory negligence. In this case, the court would be able to grant you a settlement if they saw fit.
Usually a defense attorney will do everything in their power to show your contributory negligence, which is why it’s always a good idea to have an experienced attorney on your side when dealing with a personal injury case.
If you’ve been injured, don’t hesitate to contact Oxner + Permar. We can help you stand up for your rights and get you the benefits you deserve.
Can the Insurance Company Use My Social Media Accounts as Evidence?
After you’re injured at work, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not a photo you post on social media is going to damage your case. Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in. Defense attorneys know that most of us share every aspect of our lives online, so they will absolutely dig through any social media account they can find to gather evidence on why they shouldn’t pay you.
It can be hard to believe that the insurance companies would stoop this low, but one of our clients experienced it first hand. She had a 10-second video, shot by her child, of her hugging her spouse after returning from seeing her mother who was terminally ill.
The defense attorneys took that video and tore it apart for evidence. Soon they were asking questions such as “You seem to be moving okay, are you sure you’re hurt?” and “You seem to be carrying a bag, how much did it weigh?” These questions have the potential to save their client tons of money — which is why it’s important not to give them anything to work with in the first place.
This may feel like a huge invasion of privacy, but the truth is they don’t see it that way because you are volunteering this information. Regardless of whether or not your profile is public, there’s still a good chance an attorney will find it. That’s why the best course of action is to simply temporary disable your social media accounts while your case is ongoing.
Be cautious with your social media, and don’t volunteer information that could be construed as incriminating. If you have any questions about your case, contact Oxner + Permar for a free consultation.