Category: Workers’ Compensation

What is the Statute of Limitations on Occupational Diseases?

 

What is the Statute of Limitations on Occupational Diseases?

When you have an accident at work, knowing when to file an accident report is simple — you should file as soon after your accident as possible. This will ensure that there’s an account of your accident in the records, and help prove to the insurance company that there is a need for workers’ compensation coverage.

 

Keep in mind, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover just accidents; it also covers occupational diseases. The big difference here is that it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact time when the disease first develops. There is a time limit on how long after your disease develops, so it’s important to file for workers’ compensation as soon as you can.

 

For instance, there was a case in 2012 in which an automotive mechanic assistant visited his doctor with complaints of shoulder pain that was initially diagnosed in 2000. The doctor diagnosed him with severe osteoarthritis, most likely a result of his job, which required frequent use of his arms and shoulders. He was advised that his shoulder might need to be replaced and that he should modify his work in order not to further damage his shoulder.

 

However, the mechanic continued to work until his retirement in 2009 despite the persistent pain. He often needed his co-workers to complete certain tasks. It was his shoulder pain that caused him to retire.

 

In 2012, the mechanic visited a doctor for his shoulder pain and was told that he had developed end-stage arthritis in his left shoulder, and that it required surgery. So he followed the doctor’s orders and underwent a surgery to replace his shoulder at the beginning of November. By the end of the month, he filed for workers’ compensation.

 

Despite the fact that he had developed this condition as a result of the normal duties of his job, the court dismissed his claim because he had waited too long to make his claim. There is a two-year statute of limitation on worker’s comp cases. The good news is that that two years generally begins after your first diagnosis.

 

If the mechanic had filed for workers’ compensation in 2000 when he received his first diagnosis, it’s likely he would have been covered by workers’ compensation. That’s why if you develop any sort of condition due to your work, it’s important that you file for workman’s comp as soon as you get the diagnosis.

 

There is a two-year statute of limitations on workers’ comp in cases of occupational diseases. If you’ve developed a condition due to your work, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

 

What Should I Expect at Mediation?

What Should I Expect at Mediation?

Often times, rather than going to court a case will go to mediation instead. So first of all, what is mediation? Basically instead of having a trial, the two parties (in this case, probably you and the insurance company’s team) will meet with a neutral third person to try to resolve a claim before a hearing. It gives you and the insurance company a chance to work out your own deal to close a case.

 

How is this different than court? For one, no one can make you or the other side settle your claim. You only form an agreement if you both actually agree to the final terms. Additionally, you won’t be sworn in or questioned. Of course, you have the right to speak, but it’s not a requirement. But don’t worry, your attorney will give you more details about speaking before the mediation.

 

Who is the mediator and what do they do? The mediator is the person who comes in as the neutral third party — they’re not on your side, and they’re not on the insurer’s side. They’re just there to help you come to an agreement. They will most likely talk with you about the tough parts of your case. But don’t feel singled out! They’ll also be asking the other party questions as well. They will act as a go-between between you and the other side. This will help get each side’s points and arguments across. If you are able to come to an agreement, the mediator will write it up and everyone will sign it. At this point, your case will be resolved.

 

Mediation is a common practice in workers’ comp law. In fact, our courts order that each case at least attempt to come to an agreement through mediation before going to trial — which is good for you because mediation generally saves a lot of time and money. Moreover, both parties are able to feel like they contributed to the outcome and generally walk away satisfied. Don’t worry, though, if your mediation is unsuccessful. This just means that your case will move onto court, where a Judge will make a final decision.

 

What is mediation and how does it work? Talk with your attorney about any questions you have and listen to their advice on expectations for the process.

 

So, You’re Going to Court

 

 So, You’re Going to Court

The idea of having to go to court over your workers’ compensation claim can be incredibly stressful. But don’t worry. Your attorney will do their best to prepare you and help you through the situation. There are many reasons you might require a hearing. For example, your claim may have been partially or entirely denied. In either instance, here are some tips for what to do when making an appearance in court.

 

  1. Listen to Your Lawyer
    Just like your doctor or an accountant, your attorney has the professional experience to guide you, and following their advice will help you overcome legal matters successfully. They’ll have spent a lot of time getting to know you and studying your specific legal circumstances, so they’ll know all the strengths and weaknesses of your case. It is very important to listen to any instructions, advice, or guidance your lawyer givers you in preparation for your hearing.
  2. Be Calm and Keep Your Cool
    Many times, the opposing attorney is going to try to get you riled up to make you look unreasonable on the witness stand. Don’t let them get to you! This is not like arguing with a friend or family member. In our workers’ compensation system, the Deputy Commissioner (Judge) at your hearing will be making the first decision on your case. So the judge will be watching and listening to any argument you might have. You do not want him or her to have a bad impression of you or to be distracted from the facts of your case by flared tempers. Therefore, it’s always best to keep your cool.
  3. Accept that You Can’t Control Everything
    Unfortunately, a lot happens in the courtroom over which you’ll have zero control. For example, doctors often make or break a case based on their testimony. Your attorney will do their best to ask the right questions, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes the doctor won’t answer in your favor. This is true of all witnesses no matter which side calls on them to testify.

 

Because you never know how things will play out, it’s always best to listen to your attorney. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. They handle workers’ comp cases everyday, so they know what to expect and the best course of action to take.

 

If you’ve been injured at work, don’t wait to contact an experienced attorney. Having someone at your side to help navigate you through the entire process makes all the difference. We’ll prepare you for your hearing and through every step of your case.

Case Spotlight: Fall in the Parking Lot

 

Case Spotlight: Fall in the Parking Lot

If you have a non-traditional workers’ compensation case, you might be concerned that we won’t represent you. The reality of the situation is that we deal with non-traditional cases all the time.

I’m currently helping a client who works for a staffing agency. She took a position at a large corporation. While on her way into work one morning, she tripped and fell in the parking lot. As a result, she sustained significant damage to her knee and eye.

 

Despite her injuries, her workers’ compensation claim has been denied. Even though she was on the property of her place of work, they turned her down because the parking lot where she fell was not owned by the staffing agency, but by the company where she had been working. Her employer was the staffing agency, not the company.

 

Despite this, we are working with her in order to get her fair compensation. It doesn’t matter if you think your case is complicated or unusual. At Oxner + Permar, we’re passionate about defending our clients.

 

If you’ve been injured at work and are unsure if we’ll cover your case, give us a call! At Oxner + Permar we offer a free consultation.

 

Case Spotlight: Hurt While Traveling for Work

Case Spotlight: Hurt While Traveling for Work

I’ve spoken with clients who said they were nervous about contacting an attorney because they didn’t know if their case fit into the kinds of cases we typically take on. The truth is, we represent all kinds of workman’s comp cases. In order to give you an idea of what kinds of cases we handle, I thought I’d share one that we’re working on now.

I have a client who was traveling for work out of state — he travels for the company whenever there is a need for temporary drivers. The trip required an overnight stay, so his company put him up in a less than clean hotel room. While unpacking his suitcase, he stubbed his toe on the bed frame.

 

Stubbing your toe is never fun, but things went from bad to worse when my client’s toe injury developed an infection. As a result his big toe ultimately required amputation. Naturally, my client filed for workers’ compensation; however, his claim was denied.

 

Now we’re currently working with him and waiting on a hearing. However, unfortunately for our client, in the time that we’ve been waiting, he developed an infection at the amputation site and has now lost his leg from the knee down. Our client deserves compensation for the medical treatment and medication that he’s received. We’re fighting to ensure that his rights are protected.

 

If you’re concerned about whether or not we will take on your case, don’t worry! At Oxner + Permar we offer free consultations so that you know up front how we can help.