April 1, 2020

Yes, Post Surgical Infections are Covered Under Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law

There is risk to every type of surgery but most of us focus on the possibility that the surgery will not fix the problem it was intended to solve.

  • You underwent a laminectomy at L3/4 but you are still having severe pain radiating into your left hip and weakness in your left leg
  • You underwent a diskectomy and fusion at L5/S1 but the hardware has not remained in place and you can barely walk much less perform any work activity
  • You underwent a carpal tunnel release but your hand is still numb and you cannot rotate your hand at all

Poor results from surgery are always an issue in workers’ compensation because often times the insurance company has delayed approving surgery and permanent nerve damage can occur if a problem is not addressed quickly.

But an equally serious complication from surgery can create even more issues. Sometimes, despite the best efforts by the surgeon and your attempts to keep your wound clean, an infection can develop at the surgical site. [Read more…]

How to Protect Yourself from False Information About Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

You would not believe some of the outrageous statements made to my clients from their supervisors after reporting a work injury:

  • “Workers compensation only covers back injuries” (no, it covers any injury part of your body)
  • “you must report your on the job injury within 3 hours” (no, you have 30 days to report your injury)
  • “it doesn’t matter that you were unconscious/disoriented due to a concussion/in an ambulance – whatever you said or didn’t say immediately after your accident controls what you can pursue under workers comp” (no, you are not bound by statements made when you are not in your right mind)

This is just a taste of the misinformation I have heard about over the past 30 years.

The truth is that workers’ compensation in Georgia is extremely adversarial. Other than divorce law, I doubt that any area of the law is a bruising and contested as work injury law. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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 injury claim that was witnessed and where even the posted panel doctor agrees that your injury arose from your job?

Isn’t there some sort of “good faith” requirement that insurance companies need to meet? And beyond that, what benefit accrues to the insurance company if their delays result in more needed medical treatment and more off-work status for you? [Read more…]