December 10, 2018

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…]

Seriously Injured Workers Likely to be Fired

Construction Worker Suffering Injury After Fall From Ladder

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 strains or bruises usually respond to ice and a day or two of rest, and then you can return to work without any issues.  In most of these cases, the posted panel doc’s treatment will be sufficient.  Our experience has been that employers recognize that bumps and bruises are part of almost any job and your employment will not be at risk if you access the posted panel doctor and the workers’ compensation system.

Problems often occur when your injury is more than a minor strain. Or perhaps you have had a series of minor and not so minor bumps and bruises that have resulted in several visits to the workers’ compensation clinic and more than a few days of missed work.  In cases where your employer decides that you are injury prone or that your minor injury really isn’t so minor, your job may be in jeopardy. [Read more…]

Asking the Uncomfortable Questions So You are Properly Compensated

Georgia workers compensation lawyerAs an advocate for my clients – employees who have been thrust into the workers’ compensation system – I often find myself asking hard questions to insurance adjusters.  Outside the context of my law practice some of the questions I ask would be considered downright uncomfortable but in my business, I am going to make my opponents uncomfortable if that is what I need to do.

Here’s an example of what I am talking about.  Earlier this year I got a call from one of my work injury clients who told me that his temporary total disability (TTD) checks had stopped coming in the mail.  He had been receiving his TTD checks for several months and the insurance company had not filed any paperwork seeking to terminate benefits.

I immediately called the insurance adjuster who assured me that my client was still in “pay status” in their system and that his checks were being mailed out.  This did not make sense to me because it is highly unlikely that 3 checks would be lost in the mail in consecutive weeks. [Read more…]

When Do I Get my First Lost Wage Check?

first workers compensation lost wage paymentOften the problem that drives clients to call me relates to lost wage checks.  Specifically, you may have been hurt a week or two ago, you are getting letters and State Board forms in the mail, but no lost wage check.  What exactly are the rules regarding when you are supposed to get that first check?

the insurance company has 21 days after the date of your first missed day from work to issue your first lost wage check.  You do not count your last day of work in this calculation

  • you will not receive payment for the first 7 days of missed work unless you miss 21 consecutive days
  • once you miss 21 consecutive days, the insurance company must pay you for the first 7 days of missed work
  • if you do not miss 21 consecutive days, you should receive 2 weeks’ worth of benefits by day 21 after your first day of missed work

Confused?  You are not alone.  The law seeks to balance the needs of workers for money to pay their bills and the needs of the insurance company to conduct its investigation and set up a payment schedule.  Personally, I think that an employee’s suffering when he is hurt and broke for 3 weeks outweighs an inconvenience to an insurance company, but this is the law as it exists currently. [Read more…]

What Happens if my Weekly Benefit Checks are Late?

late workers compensation checkI understand how important it is that you receive your weekly temporary total disability benefits on time.     If you are like many of my clients, when you lose your regular paycheck and you are depending on workers’ compensation, you may be living week to week and you may face significant and dire consequences when your checks are late.  Here is what you need to know about late payments, the penalties that the insurance company must pay and what you can do to force the insurance company to issue your check.

Assuming that your claim has been accepted and you are not currently working, your employer’s insurance company must pay your weekly benefit checks on time.

Your first weekly benefit check must be mailed on day 21 after the accident if that check is mailed within Georgia, and it must mailed on the 18th day after the accident if it is mailed from an address outside the state of Georgia.  The day of the accident does not count when calculating dates.

Subsequent checks mailed from within Georgia must be postmarked as of the last day of the week (i.e. Saturday) in order for payment to be considered timely.

Subsequent checks mailed from outside of Georgia must be postmarked by the Thursday of the week it is due in order for the payment to be considered timely. [Read more…]

Workers’ Comp Tip: If your work involves tips, keep good/accurate records of wages earned

Recently I had a workers’ comp case where my client suffered from a very severe and complex ankle injury and had to undergo 2 surgeries over a period of several months. Even after the surgeries, she still required ongoing medical care and had limited range of movement, resulting in her inability to work certain jobs.

When her initial workers’ comp benefit was calculated, she was awarded a weekly TTD benefit that was a gross underpayment when you looked at all the care she needed and the specifics of her case. After a careful review of the case, it became obvious that her benefit was mis-calculated due to her position as a waitress – where a lot of the money she brought in was due to TIPS.

You see, many times servers and bartenders and other workers who bring in significant income from tips end up experiencing improper wage calculations and mis-calculations of benefits owed when in pursuit of workers’ comp cases. The same is true for workers who work off commissions or receive large bonuses.

In my client’s case, we were able to get her the benefits she deserved (we ended up securing higher TTD benefits, plus TPD and PPD as well), and we were also able to re-calculate her wages to reflect a more accurate picture of what she had been making at the time of the accident. This is why it pays to have a workers’ comp attorney helping you with your case – we see these situations often and can often help you maximize your benefits.

In any case, the tip of the day is this: To anyone bringing in significant income from tips, commissions, or bonuses, KEEP GOOD RECORDS in the event that you are one day injured and have to pursue a workers’ comp case!

Weekly Wage Benefits are Exempt from Garnishment

A workers’ compensation claim can result in many unpleasant changes in your life.   Besides the health issues and the stress that you have to deal with, financial problems also often arise.  Recently one of my workers’ comp clients called me to say that he was very concerned that he was about to be sued for past due credit cards.  In addition, he had other debts and was receiving daily phone calls and threatening letters.

He wanted to know if he should consider bankruptcy.  As you may know, my husband, Jonathan Ginsberg, has been a consumer bankruptcy lawyer for many years and I asked him to speak with my client.   Here is what Jonathan has to say about dealing with these debt issues: [Read more…]