Category : Workers’ Compensation law changes
Q: Last year I was hurt on the job and I have been unable to return to work. The insurance claims adjuster called me about settling my claim. How do I know if I am getting a good deal?
A: Injured workers have the option of settling their claim for future benefits. The amount of the settlement can be negotiated between the parties. Unfortunately, insurance companies usually know much more about the value of the claim that most injured workers. Your claim costs include lost wages (time loss), permanent disability, medical benefits, and vocational rehabilitation/retaining benefits if you are unable to return to your usual job. It is tempting to take the insurance companies offer but you need to know the full value of your claim in order to get the best value. You can contact the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division, the Injured Workers’ Hotline, at 1-800-452-0288, and get some advice from the Workers’ Compensation Division which regulates insurance companies. They can tell you what to look for. You can also contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation practice who will give you a free case evaluation to discuss your options and whether a settlement is a good deal.
Philip H. Garrow
Attorney at Law
Practice Limited to Workers’ Compensation Cases and Social Security Disability/SSI Claims
Q: I suffered severe injuries from a work-related accident. My Doctors have declared me totally disabled. I submitted these reports to the Social Security Administration and I was still denied disability benefits. Doesn’t Social Security have to listen to my doctors?
A: Social Security operates under federal law. Workers’ compensation injuries are based on state law. Federal law requires the Social Security Administration to “consider” the statements from your doctors. However, Social Security will apply its own criteria to determine whether you meet the definition of disability. It is possible that your doctors’ reports were not specific enough for Social Security. It is also possible that Social Security believes that you could do some other kind of less demanding work.
You should appeal the Social Security denial and get some assistance, including getting more specific reports from your doctors regarding your limitations and how they affect your ability to work. You can contact a lawyer who understands the Social Security Disability rules and what is needed to prove a disability claim. There is no fee for a consultation and an attorney is only paid if your application is approved.
Philip H. Garrow
Attorney at Law
Practiced Limited to Workers’ Compensation Cases and Social Security Disability/SSI Claims
Legislation has been introduced in Washington, D.C. to streamline the process of coordinating workers’ compensation benefits with Medicare and Medicaid coverage when settling workers’ compensation claims. Currently, it is taking way too long for the Federal government to provide the information regarding Medicare/Medicaid payments made to injured workers that is required to be contained in any workers’ compensation settlement. Stay tuned to see how this bill fares in Congress. If you have questions regarding your workers’ compensation claim, contact the law office of Philip H. Garrow at 541-382-3736.
More good news for Oregon workers injured on the job. A new law which goes into effect January 1 2012 allows the worker and workers’ compensation insurer to agree on the amount of medical payments to be paid out of a Disputed Claim Settlement (DCS) and the worker is protected from collection actions from the doctors or other medical providers. Under the new law, if the worker and the insurer agree, and the medical providers are paid at the audited amount, the providers can no longer ask the worker for any additional payment. If you have questions about your on-the-job injury claim or a Disputed Claim Settlement, contact the law office of Philip H. Garrow.