Case Spotlight: Injured Trucker Trying to Return to Work
In previous blogs, we’ve mentioned that we often have clients who are unsure about what kinds of cases we take. The truth is we take a wide variety of workman’s comp cases and work with clients from all kinds of industries — from nurses to construction workers to anything else you can think of. Your injury doesn’t even have to have taken place in North Carolina. As long as your company is located here, there’s a good chance we’ll take it on.
For instance, one of our current clients is a truck driver for a company located here in North Carolina. While driving through West Virginia, he got into a single vehicle accident. As a result, he broke his right elbow, tore his right tricep, injured his clavicle, tore his rotator cuff and injured his neck. After the accident, he continued experiencing headaches.
The good news was that workers’ compensation covered his surgery on his elbow and tricep, and paid him weekly checks. However, he still needed surgery on his rotator cuff. Our client is in his late 50s, and unsure whether he’ll be able to return to his job without further surgery. That’s when he reached out to Oxner + Permar. Our client has asked for our help to ensure that he receives his full medical treatment in order to regain full use of his arm and shoulder. Because if he is unable to return to work, what will he do? A lot rests on his case.
We are currently in the process of working with him to ensure that he receives full coverage of his treatments. Should he be unable to return to work, we’ll look at alternative options together to try to figure out his best course of action — because the most important thing to us is making wrongs, right!
If you’ve been injured at work, don’t hesitate to reach out. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar has the experience to ensure you receive the benefits you need to aid in your recovery and get you back to work.
Don’t Let Insurance Prevent You from Getting Back to Work
We know that when you’ve been injured on the job your aim is to get back to work as soon as possible. However, it can be frustrating when the insurance companies are preventing you from getting the treatment you need to heal properly. That’s one advantage of working with a workers’ comp attorney: We know how to deal with insurance companies.
For instance, we’re currently working with a client who was injured while installing guard rails. He tripped in a hole and twisted his knee. His injury required knee surgery, and as a result, he was completely out of work. Naturally, he applied for workers’ compensation and was receiving benefits to cover him while he was out of work.
However, after his surgery, his orthopedic physician recommended physical therapy. The insurance company refused to authorize this treatment. When our client returned to his doctor weeks later for a follow up appointment, his doctor explained that without physical therapy, his knee would not heal properly. Despite this, his insurance company would not cover the treatment.
Weeks had gone by with no treatment. Our client was frustrated because without physical therapy, he couldn’t get better and wouldn’t be able to return to work at all. It was then that he reached out to us. Upon signing him, we immediately got his physical therapy approved.
It can be incredibly frustrating when it feels like the insurance company is working against you — especially when all you want to do is return to work. At Oxner + Permar, we’ll fight for your rights and help you back to work as soon as possible.
We always recommend that the sooner you contact a workers’ comp attorney the better. We know what to look for when dealing with workman’s comp cases, so we can make sure you’re getting the benefits and treatment you need to get back to work as soon as possible.
If My Appointed Doctor is Far Away, Do I Have to See Them?
So you’ve been injured at work. You file for workers’ compensation, and you receive a doctor appointed by the insurance company. You’re thinking, “Great! My workers’ compensation process is going smoothly so far!” But then you notice the address of your doctor. They live in Raleigh, and you live in Wilmington. That’s a solid two-hour drive away, possibly longer if there’s a lot of traffic (and let’s face it, there’s probably going to be traffic). Are they allowed to do that? Do you have to see this doctor?
Here’s the thing: The workers’ compensation carrier is allowed to appoint whichever doctor they see fit; however, there are a couple of steps you can take to make this process less of a hassle.
- You can request to see a different doctor. If you appeal to your employer and their insurance company, they may choose to change doctors. If that fails, you can then appeal to the Industrial Commission. They will take your case into consideration and decide whether or not to allow you to change doctors.
- You can seek reimbursement for travel expenses. In some cases, you may have to travel a great distance in order to seek the best care for your injury. In this case, it’s good to know that if you travel more than 20 miles round trip to visit your doctor, you can be reimbursed at a rate of 54 cents per mile. (These rates differ year-by-year. Be sure to find out the rate for the year in which you traveled).
Don’t let the insurance company push you around. If you’re appointed a doctor who lives far away, make sure you are taking the proper steps to receive reimbursement or to be assigned a doctor who is closer. Working with an experienced attorney can help make sure you’re on the right track and that someone is on your side fighting for your rights.
If you’re appointed a doctor whose office is far away from you, there are steps you can take to ensure that your doctor is reassigned or that you’re being reimbursed. Talk to an experienced attorney at Oxner + Permar for a free consultation.
The Danger of Working Near Water with Heavy Equipment
No matter how experienced you are, there’s always a danger when working with heavy machinery. Even when you follow all of the safety guidelines, there are variables outside of our control that can cause accidents.
You may have heard last month about the death of a local Fayetteville construction worker who was tragically killed during the flooding from Hurricane Matthew. He was driving a construction vehicle along the banks of a river while repairing a sewer line, when the earth along the water gave way, and caused his vehicle to tip into the water.
While nothing could have been done to prepare for this scenario, it’s always best to follow safety protocols in order to minimize the risk of injury. Make sure you are wearing proper safety equipment, and always be aware of your surroundings.
It’s good to know that if you are injured at work as a result of a natural disaster (for instance flooding), that injury should be covered by workers’ compensation. Work-related deaths are also covered under workers’ compensation. The death of a loved one is a difficult time no matter the circumstances. The last thing you need is to have to wade through the nuances of a workers’ compensation claim. Let an experienced attorney help guide you through this difficult time.
If you or someone you know has been injured at work as a result of a natural disaster, be sure to contact an experienced attorney at Oxner + Permar for a free consultation. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, our attorneys have the experience to get you the benefits you deserve.
Protect Yourself from Wintry Weather Conditions at Work
Building snowmen, going sledding, snowball fights, and days off from school might make some look forward to winter weather. But those who have to work in a winter wonderland might not embrace snow in the forecast with such joy. If this pertains to you, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your work station from the hazards of winter weather.
- Avoid icy conditions. If you don’t have to go into work when there’s ice or snow on the roads, don’t! If it’s unavoidable, drive carefully and slowly. If you have snow tires, be sure to use them. Work on scaffolding should be suspended if at all possible. Watch out for black ice and places that might freeze before the ground does.
- Be mindful of frozen pipes. We know it’s not always possible to protect exposed pipes from the elements. If your pipes freeze, make sure they are thawed by a trained employee using approved methods (such as space heaters or a heat gun).
- Maintain machinery. Always check to make sure that heavy machinery has not been affected by the cold — especially equipment such as cranes that might require climbing. If ice accumulates on the ladder, it could cause you to slip and fall.
- Dress appropriately. If you work outside, be sure to dress warmly: coat, hat, gloves, boots.
- Take breaks to warm up. If you find yourself unable to feel your hands or feet, are having difficulty moving them, or are unable to stop shivering, take a break to go warm up! Hypothermia and frostbite are serious conditions, and you should take precautions against them. If you develop hypothermia or frostbite while on the job, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation.
When it comes to winter weather, don’t take chances. The best thing is to use precaution and your best judgment. If something seems unsafe, don’t do it. Your health and safety is more important than any job. If you have any questions, feel free to contact one of our experienced attorneys for a free consultation.
Winter weather increases the risk of an on-the-job injury. Be sure to stay safe, and don’t take unnecessary risks.