January 19, 2020

How to Avoid Potential Problems Common to Work Injury Cases Filed by Delivery Drivers

Online shopping is obviously huge business and the growth of e-commerce also means that more people are employed as delivery drivers. Companies like Amex and Walmart operate delivery vans and trucks in every major city in Georgia and delivery companies like UPS, FedEx and DHL operate trucks that service businesses and residences throughout the state.

I have represented and currently represent many delivery drivers who have incurred injuries while making deliveries.

Many of my delivery driver clients have back and knee injuries that arise from lifting and carrying heavy packages, or falling when climbing on or off a truck.

Surprisingly, I have also represented a number of clients who were injured trying to avoid a guard dog or even a family pet who did not appreciate a stranger within their territory.

Avoid Potential Traps

Regardless of how you were hurt, or whether you hurt your neck, back, knees, ankles, hands or feet, you do need to be aware of potential traps when pursuing a claim under the Georgia workers’ compensation law. [Read More…]

What Should You Do if Your Employer Ignores Your Work Injury Claim?

What should you do if your employer takes no action whatsoever after you report a work injury?

Believe it or not, I see this situation frequently.  I get calls every week from injured workers who say “Jodi, I hurt my back at work and I reported the injury to my supervisor but nothing is happening.  Every time I tell my boss that my back is killing me, he says that they are ‘working on’ my claim.  Several weeks have gone by and I don’t know what to do.”

I think that in many ways, being ignored is worse than being denied.  At least you know where you stand if your employer controverts your claim even if your work injury claim is legitimate.

But having your on-the-job injury claim ignored is not acceptable either.  First, you can’t be sure that your employer has reported your claim to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.  If your claim is never officially reported (within one year of your injury) you can lose all of your rights.

Second, Georgia law says that you have 30 days to report your work injury claim to your employer.  If they are doing nothing, they may very well claim that you never reported your injury.  This is why I always advise my clients to report their injuries in writing and to ask for a written confirmation of the report. [Read More…]

Employee’s Failure to Honor Light Duty Restrictions Results in Denial of Benefits

How are your rights under Georgia’s workers compensation law affected if you return to work light duty but end up performing full duty work?

In a recent case heard by the Georgia Court of Appeals, an injured worker was denied weekly wage benefits because he worked beyond the light duty restrictions set out by his supervisor.

The employee in this case was a cook, cashier and clean up worker at a fast food restaurant. In January, 2013, the employee injured his back when lifting a pot of chili. Shortly thereafter he aggravated his back throwing trash into a dumpster. He was instructed by his supervisor to avoid heavy exertion.

On November 19, 2013, the employee injured his back again when a stack of boxes collapsed on his head and chest while he was unloading supplies. Following this accident, the employee’s supervisor instructed him “not to lift anything unless given permission to do so by a member of management.” Four days later, however, the employee was observed by his supervisor lifting heavy items while restocking the store. [Read More…]

Back Pain Claims Under Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law – Avoid the Runaround

Back injuries that occur on the job are the most common type of injury claimed by employees under the Georgia workers’ compensation system.  This is not surprising since a back injury can occur when you are lifting, carrying, pushing or stooping.  You can also injury your back when you slip on a wet floor, or if you fall off a ladder or scaffold.

Whatever the reason for your injury, if you hurt your back while working you are automatically covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.  Your employer does not have the option to “opt out” of workers’ compensation coverage.

Once you report your on-the-job injury to your employer, a workers’ compensation insurance company will get involved and  this is where you may begin seeing problems.

You are Only a Number to the Insurance Company

Even if you are a long time employee, cherished by your boss and treated like a member of the family, your employer’s insurance company will see you only as a number and a cost that they need to keep down.   Many of our clients have expressed frustration and anger at the disrespect showed to them by their employer’s insurance company. [Read More…]

Why Would the Insurance Company Deny or Delay My Work Injury Medical Treatment?

When you are hurt on the job, Georgia law says that your employer and their insurance company must pay for emergency care.  Further, they must offer you medical treatment with a physician listed on a posted panel of physicians consisting of doctors they have chosen to provide care for work accidents.  However, once you are out of immediate danger, the insurance company has the power to authorize or deny the next step in your care – such as diagnostic testing, surgery or physical therapy.

Frequently I get calls from injured workers who are suffering with severe back pain, shoulder pain or even burns, or folks who can’t walk due to knee injuries, but the posted panel doctor will not order an MRI or CT and ongoing medical treatment just grinds to a halt.  The posted panel doctor may give you pain medications but his main focus seems to be returning you to work as soon as possible, regardless of your medical issues.

Why would the insurance company refuse to authorize (pay for) diagnostic tests like an MRI or CT scan to find out what is really going on? Don’t they know that the longer a back, shoulder, neck or knee injury remains untreated, the harder it will be for you to recover? Or do they just want you to suffer? [Read More…]

Incredible: What Goes on Behind the Scenes of Your Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claim

Why is the Georgia workers compensation system so adversarial? As an injured employee you only have to prove that you were injured on the job – you do not have to prove negligence or any other fault on the part of your employer. Does it make sense that employers and their insurance companies fight so hard to deny claims?

It may not make sense, but employers and their insurance companies do contest claims, even those involving injuries that were witnessed and where all treating doctors diagnose a severe problem.

Some of what I see every day can only be described as incredible:

  • my client was injured and saw no posted panel of physicians in any breakroom or other employee area. Under the law, the employee can choose any doctor and the employer/insurer has to pay. The adjuster refused to authorize a doctor and suddenly a fresh, new posted panel appeared (after the fact)
  • a potential client called to say that she had received no TTD (temporary total disability) checks even though she was out of work and her claim accepted. When I was retained I called the adjuster who emailed me a printout of her screen showing that the TTD checks were sent out by their system, but, of course, never cashed. By the end of that week, the missing funds plus a penalty was fed-exed to my new client
  • I received a call from another potential client who had a serious neck injury. The insurance company would only authorize a hand specialist. After I was retained, we asked the ahnd doctor to authorize a neck specialist, which he did. The adjuster continued to refuse to authorize payment for the neck orthopedist. Only after requesting a hearing and getting a defense attorney to look at the case was the neck specialist approved.

[Read More…]

More Recent Posts

Why Would my Employer Deny my Legitimate Injury Claim?

I have written a lot on this blog about how strategies you and your lawyer can use to fight insurance company delays, refusal to authorize needed medical treatment and refusal to start weekly wage benefits. You may be wondering why your employer – and by extension, their insurance company would fight you on a work […]

Can You Collect Workers’ Compensation Benefits if You Were at Fault in your Work Accident

Would you be surprised to learn that you are eligible to pursue workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia cases even if you were at fault in the accident? Workers’ compensation law in Georgia is considered a “no fault” system, meaning that you are covered even if your injuries arose from your own negligence.  Under Georgia law, […]

How to Combat Insurance Company Delay Tactics and Refusal to Authorize Medical Treatment

What can you do if your treating doctor wants to refer you to a specialist, or tries to order an MRI or CT scan, but the workers’ compensation insurance company refuses to authorize this needed treatment? &nbsp Under Georgia workers’ compensation law, if you are receiving care from a “authorized treating physician” and that authorized […]

Delays in Medical Treatment: Bad for Your Work Injury Case

  When you are hurt on your job, you should not delay seeking medical care. Your employer and their insurance company will treat your delay in seeking treatment as an “admission” that your injury really is not that severe.  They will fight to avoid paying for medical tests and they will oppose your effort to […]

Injured Workers Suffers Due to Insurance Company Tactics

This is a video from a TV news report in Michigan but the issues raised are the same as what we face here in Georgia.  Workers’ compensation insurance companies frequently send claimants to “independent” medical examinations that result in bogus diagnoses and unconscionable claim denials. I wrote about this issue on this blog back in […]

“Independent” Medical Exams Scheduled by the Insurance Company are Rarely Legitimate

A very common tactic used by workers’compensation insurance companies to cut off your benefits involves the use of something called an “independent medical exam” or IME.  As you might guess, in my experience these medical evaluations are rarely independent and they often serve no purpose other than medical support for termination of benefits. Fortunately, most […]

Is a Private Investigator Following You?

Over the years I have written articles and recorded videos about insurance company surveillance. As I explain to all of my work injury clients, the minute you give notice of your on-the-job injury to your employer, there is a good chance that your employer’s insurance company will hire a private investigator to follow you, take […]

What is a Deposition in a Georgia Work Injury Claim?

What does it mean to be deposed in your Georgia workers’ compensation injury claim?  Should you be concerned if you have to testify at a deposition? Under Georgia law, both sides – you, and your employer – are allowed to ask questions to the opposing side.  Your lawyer, for example, may depose a witness to […]

Seriously Injured Workers Likely to be Fired

Many of the folks I speak with about work injury claims are, quite reasonably, concerned about their jobs.  Steady, well-paying jobs are hard to find and reporting an on-the-job injury could have negative consequences for your employment. If you experience a relatively minor injury, you should not have much of a problem – minor muscle […]

Delay in Treatment of Your Back Pain May be Hazardous to Your Health

In my Georgia workers’ compensation law practice I interact with dozens of insurance companies each week and I frequently find that claims adjusters take a very short sighted approach towards medical treatment for back injuries. At least half of the clients I represent are suffering from some form of back injury. Low back pain (often […]

Defense Lawyers Scour Social Media for Evidence to Challenge Your Claim

I have written before about the danger associated with keeping your social media profiles active while you are pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. Comments, posts, tweets and especially photos can and will be used against you. Perhaps you decided to change your Facebook profile picture and you chose a photo taken the year before your work […]

Injured Workers Suffer as Workers Compensation Laws Get More Restrictive

Frequently on this blog I post stories about the difficulties my clients experience trying to get insurance companies to do what they are supposed to do under the law. Most often the problems I highlight involve an insurance company’s refusal to authorize (pay for) necessary treatment, and some of the tactics I use to force […]

Why Your First Doctor’s Appointment Following Your Accident is so Important

Most of us have seen police dramas on TV where the arresting officer tells the suspect that “anything you say can and will be used against you.” In your Georgia workers’ compensation claim not only do you have to worry about what you say, but you also have to worry about what you do not […]

How Insurance Companies Try to Cut You Off

You might think that if your employer is paying weekly benefits and has paid for medical care, you are not likely to have any significant disputes in your work injury case. As the case I am about to discuss shows, however, challenges from the insurance company may be right around the corner. The case I […]

Unrepresented Claimant with Rotator Cuff Injury Denied Necessary Rehab

I want to talk with you today about rotator cuff injuries and the importance of both proper medical care and appropriate rehabilitation and followup. In many respects the right kind of rehabilitation and follow-up medical care can make the difference between a return to full function and long term (and sometimes permanent) restriction of movement, […]