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Category: Workers’ Compensation

A Shift in the World of Workers’ Compensation

Workers' Compensation

You may have heard about a recent workers’ comp case in North Carolina: Wilkes v. The City of Greenville. This case had a huge impact on state workers’ comp policies due to the fact that it established that employers were responsible for injuries or conditions that occurred as a result of a workplace injury, even if the additional conditions or injuries developed after the initial accident.

 

Because of this ruling, it became the responsibility of the employer to prove that the additional conditions were not a result of the initial injury. However, in response to this decision, employers are calling for the law to change. They want to shift the burden to the employee, and have them prove that their additional injury is related in order to receive compensation.

 

Employers were concerned that the initial ruling in favor of Wilkes would lead to an increase in the cost of workers’ compensation insurance. However, many attorneys believe that this is not true, and that this ruling harms employees more than anything else.

 

It seems that going forward it’s going to be even more vital that an injured worker has an experienced attorney on their side to help them get the most out of their workers’ comp claim. Working with an attorney early on in your workers’ comp will give you the advantage of their insight and experience, so you can know what to expect every step of the way.

 

If you’ve been injured at work, don’t hesitate to contact Oxner + Permar. With more than $275 in awards and settlements, we have the experience to stand up for your rights.

 

What Happens If I’m Injured While on Medical Restrictions?

Workers' Compensation

After you’ve been injured at work, it’s very likely that you’ll be given work restrictions by your doctor. If this happens, you’ll be able to return to work in a light duty job. This job is likely a modified version of your old job, or an alternative job that complies with your restrictions. In many cases this is a good situation, and there are no problems. However, just because this job falls within your work restrictions, that doesn’t mean additional injuries won’t occur.

 

It could be that you end up overusing one body part to compensate for your injury. For example, let’s say you injured your shoulder while at work. When you start your light duty job, you’re probably going to have to work one-handed while your injured shoulder recovers, and it is quite possible for you to injure your other shoulder.

 

If this happens, it’s likely the insurance company won’t agree to pay for the injury to the other body part. But don’t let that stop you! We have had success at the Industrial Commission in getting compensation and medical treatment for this kind of injury. In the past we’ve been able to show that since the second injury was a direct and natural consequence of the original injury, it should be covered.

 

It is possible to earn compensation for an injury that occurs while you’re on light duty restrictions. If you’ve experienced a similar work related injury, give us a call for a free consultation.

When Should I Get a Second Opinion?

Workers' Compensation

As workers’ compensation attorneys, we get asked a lot of questions everyday. I love getting these questions because it shows that my clients and potential clients are engaged in their cases and are working to understand the workers’ comp process. Never be afraid to ask your attorney questions.

 

One of the questions I hear most frequently is, “When should I get a second opinion on my medical treatment?”

 

When it comes to workers’ comp claims, there are a couple of ways to obtain a second opinion evaluation.

  • Ask the defendant (your employer/insurance carrier) to provide one
  • Request the Industrial Commission to order a second opinion

 

Generally you would ask the defendant before seeking help from the Industrial Commission; however, it’s always a good idea to follow the advice of your attorney when it comes to what’s best for your case.

 

As for when you should ask for a second opinion — it’s going to depend on your case. Typically, unless there is a dispute about the medical treatment, it’s probably best to wait until the end of your treatment. This is because you can get the most bang for your buck since the second opinion doctor can review all of your treatment.

 

Of course, if there is a dispute about your treatment, you should seek a second opinion when the problem arises. That way the dispute can be resolved as quickly as possible, and you can be properly evaluated, treated, and compensated. Your attorney should be able to help you through a situation like this.

 

If there is any dispute over your treatment, seek a second opinion; otherwise wait until your treatment ends. If you are dealing with a workers’ comp case and require a second opinion, contact Oxner + Permar for a free consultation.

Will Workers’ Comp Cover an Idiopathic Fall?

Workers' Compensation

Idiopathic conditions are often related to work injuries. Whether or not these injuries are covered by workers’ compensation often depend on exactly how the injury occurred and what caused it. When looking at idiopathic conditions, it’s important to first determine what exactly does “idiopathic” mean?

 

Idiopathic refers to conditions that are spontaneous or pre-existing. Some examples of these kinds of conditions include things like:

  • Seizures
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes

 

It can also refer to more spontaneous conditions, such as if your leg were to suddenly give out.

 

So how do these conditions factor into workers’ comp? Well, if your pre-existing or idiopathic condition is the only reason for your injury, then chances are your injury will not be covered by workman’s comp. However, if the injury is the result of your work, you probably will be covered.

 

Regardless of whether or not your idiopathic condition makes you more likely to be injured, the important thing is that it was caused by your work. So in other words, even if you were predisposed to back pain, if you strained your back doing a routine part of your job, then that injury is probably compensable.

 

And of course, if you experience any kind of injury at work, always file an injury report with your employer. That way when it comes time to determine the exact cause of your injury, there will be a record of your injury.

 

Idiopathic conditions can be compensable. If you’re unsure of your exact situation, be sure to reach out to an experienced attorney. At Oxner + Permar we offer free consultations to help you determine the next steps for your case.

What are Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangements?

Workers' Compensation

If you are receiving Medicare and have been injured at work, you may have heard of a Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement or WCMSA. When dealing with workman’s comp and Medicare, you may be required to set up a WCMSA as part of your settlement.

 

If this happens, you will be asked to set aside a portion of your workers’ comp benefits in an account. This money will be used to cover treatment and medical procedures related to your work injury once you begin earning Medicare. However, it’s important to note that this money can only be used to cover things that are usually covered by Medicare with the exception of medication for your work-related injury.

 

The reason for this is account is because while workers’ compensation covers 100% of your work-related injury treatment, Medicare does not. In fact, Medicare only covers 80%. The WCMSA ensures that you will have money to cover that remaining 20% once your Medicare payments start.

 

As stated before, you can also use your WCMSA to pay for medication. If it looks like you might run out of funds to cover your medication, it may be worth looking into a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

 

Navigating the various laws surrounding workman’s compensation and Medicare can be complicated. Work with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate your case. Don’t hesitate to give Oxner + Permar a call for a free consultation.