Do I Have to Pay Back Bills Paid by Health Insurance?
Sometimes it can take a while before workers’ compensation benefits kick in. This means while you’re waiting, you’re responsible for covering the costs of treatment. If you have health insurance, it’s possible that they’ll cover your medical bills while you’re waiting for workman’s comp benefits. So what happens once you’ve been awarded workers’ comp benefits? Will you have to pay your insurance company back?
Like many things in the world of workers’ comp, there is no easy yes or no: the answer depends on a few factors. If your health insurance is an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Plan, then you will likely have to pay at least some of the money back. Frequently, multi-state employers carry these kinds of plans.
On the other hand, if you have a local health plan, chances are you won’t have to pay them back. However, in order to ensure you won’t have to pay it back, you’ll need to have your attorney put the proper language into your settlement documents.
If your workers’ comp claim is denied and your health insurance is denying coverage, make sure to send a copy of your Form 61 to your insurance company. This will notify them that you are not receiving workers’ comp benefits, and that they are supposed to begin covering your bills.
It’s possible that you may receive a letter from your insurance company asking for details about your workman’s compensation claim. If this happens, you’ll want to have a conversation with your attorney as soon as possible to discuss next steps.
Dealing with a workers’ comp claim can be incredibly complicated. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have an experienced attorney on your side to help you navigate the process. Don’t hesitate to give us a call for a free consultation.
Johnson & Johnson Talc Trials Continue
We’ve written before about an ongoing series of cases involving Johnson and Johnson and a mass tort involving the use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder leading to ovarian cancer. To catch you up, despite several studies that show a link between the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer, many companies such as Johnson & Johnson have failed to label products appropriately.
Last year after a mass tort began against Johnson & Johnson, the company was ordered to pay a settlement of $72 million. In May of this year, a second verdict was handed down for $55 million.
And then, just this summer, a third case was settled against Johnson & Johnson. A California woman was awarded $417 million dollars in her settlement. Eva Echeverria, who is now 64 years old, reported using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product since she was 11.
She stopped using the product in 2016 as soon as she learned about its connection to ovarian cancer, but by then it was too late. Ms. Echeverria was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. She hopes that her case will help other women learn about the dangerous connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The court ordered that Johnson & Johnson pay $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 in punitive damages.
If you or a loved one has developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder as part of a feminine hygiene routine, be sure to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Call Oxner + Permar for a free consultation.
What Do I Do if I Discover I Have a Faulty Hip Replacement?
When you undergo a major surgery, you’re putting your life in the hands of the surgeons and doctors who will care for you. But they’re not the only ones you have to put your trust in. You also have to trust that the tools and equipment doctors use are reliable and safe. This shouldn’t be something you have to think about, but it does come up. Unfortunately, one medical device company is under scrutiny for claims that they have produced faulty hip replacement devices.
Stryker Orthopaedics is a company that makes hip implants; however, in recent cases the implants are failing years before they’re supposed to, causing nasty symptoms such as thyroid problems and vision loss.
Some other major symptoms include:
- Pain in your hip, leg, or groin
- Grinding, squeaking, popping, or other sounds that could be the metal rubbing together
- Difficulty walking or moving
You should also be mindful of the symptoms of metal poisoning which could be brought on by the erosion of metal at the joint:
- Damaged kidneys
- Depression or other psychological changes
- Hearing or vision loss
- Thyroid problems
If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of a faulty hip replacement, you should contact your doctor immediately. Once you have received medical attention, call an attorney right away. Faulty hip replacements are both expensive and traumatic. You should be fairly compensated.
At Oxner + Permar, we believe in protecting your safety and comfort and ensuring that you receive fair compensation. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call for a free consultation.
If I Was Injured at a Work Party, Am I Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
If you’re injured at a holiday work party, you might not be eligible for workers’ compensation. Take, for instance, the following case. Over the holidays this year, a North Carolina court affirmed the decision to deny a woman’s workers’ comp claim after she was injured at her annual holiday work party in 2013.
The woman, Melissa Lennon, suffered a fall while at her annual holiday work party. She sustained serious injuries including fractured bones and muscle tears. She filed a claim to cover her missed time from work and permanent partial disability. You might think that she has a fairly good case, seeing as she was injured while attending a work function.
However, the court decided that she was not eligible for these benefits. One of their biggest reasons was that, as far as they could tell, she was not required to attend the function — many of her coworkers didn’t attend the function at all. What’s more, the party was not funded by her employer, rather by some of the employees.
In this case, the ruling was not in Ms. Lennon’s favor; however, that’s not to say that there aren’t some circumstances in which an injury at a work party might be covered by workers’ compensation. If you were injured at a mandatory event, or if the event was sponsored by your company, it’s possible your claim won’t be denied.
If you’ve been injured at a work party, and have any questions about your eligibility, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced attorney at Oxner + Permar for a free consultation.
Help! I’m a Temp Employee and I’ve Been Hurt at Work!
If you do temp work, then you know how quickly you can move from one company to the next. Even positions that transition you from temporary to permanent employee often require you to work for a period of 90 days, or even 180 days, before you’re considered a full-time employee. So what happens if you sustain a work injury while you’re employed as a temporary worker?
Don’t worry! You’re still eligible for workers’ compensation.
The first main difference between filing for workers’ compensation as a temporary employee versus filing as a permanent employee is who you’re filing with. Instead of filing a claim against the company you’re working for, you’ll be filing a claim against the temp agency.
One you’ve filed your workman’s compensation claim, your doctor may restrict your work hours or duties while you recover. Here’s where the next big difference comes in: The company you’re working for may not accommodate your working restrictions. In this case, your temp agency may have to assign you to a different company. In some cases, they might even assign you to do light duty in their office.
If your temp agency isn’t placing you, be sure that you have a written record (get copies of notes or emails) documenting that you are asking them at least once a week if they have anything available within your restrictions.
Just like any other worker, you’re entitled to compensation while you’re out of work. I’ve seen plenty of cases where temp agencies say their injured workers never expressed interest or were unavailable for work in order to get out of paying you workers’ comp benefits.
Don’t fall for this trap! Keep records and be consistent when asking your temp agency for work.
Temporary workers are entitled to workers’ comp benefits. If you’re being denied compensation or work while you’re on restricted hours, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced attorney.