Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Work Comp Nurse Attending Your Appointments?

Does a nurse from workers compensation have a right to attend your doctors appointments?  What about your right to privacy?  Yes, injured workers have a right to privacy.  But under a Utah Labor Commission rule, the work comp nurse has a right to talk with your doctor about your treatment.  Here's the actual law: R612-300-2(G):  The nurse "may be present during an injured worker's medical care without the consent of the injured worker.  However, if the nurse is excluded from a medical visit, the physician and the injured worker shall meet with the nurse at the conclusion of the visit or at some other reasonable time so as to communicate regarding medical care and return-to-work issues."  If I was an injured worker, I would ask my doctor to please not talk with the work comp nurse about my care unless I was there too--that's the rule.

Have a question?  Call me at (435) 592-1235 or visit www.timothydanielslaw.com.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let's Talk "Light Duty"

So, let's consider a hypothetical situation:  You have survived your workplace injury, and your doctor says you can go back to work.  Doctor:  "Just don't lift too much; you know, take it easy."  You:  "Yes, sir, Doc.  I certainly want to heal as quickly as possible and want to avoid re-injuring myself.  Say, could you give me some specific work restrictions?  You know, how much I should lift and all that?"  Doctor:  "Sure thing.  Let's see, 'No repetitive bending or twisting, and no lifting over 25 lbs.'  How's that?"  You:  "Sounds good.  Now Doctor, are these restrictions due to my workplace injury?"  Doctor:  "Of course, you were working and lifting just fine before you got hurt at work."  You:  "Think you could put that in writing for me?  I need to give a copy to my boss at work."  Doctor:  "For sure, for sure.  Here you go, my savvy patient!"  Then, you give a copy to your boss and the clerk in the Human Resources office.  And smartly you keep a copy for yourself.  Why get specific, written work restrictions?  Because work comp benefits depend on whether you can RTW - that's return to work.  If your boss cannot have you RTW within your restrictions--meaning if the only work available is lifting > 25 lbs--then the boss should say, "Sorry, we have no work within those restrictions," and you go home to recuperate."  On the other hand, if your boss says, "Sure, lift these 20-lb boxes; we have plenty of 'light duty' work available," then you show up and do the light duty work.  Pretty slick!   (Note:  This blog is not a substitute for personalized legal advice.  Contact an attorney for specific advice for your situation.)

Have a question?  Call me at (435) 592-1235 or visit www.timothydanielslaw.com.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Devil's in the Details--the Mechanism of Injury

Details matter, especially in workers' comp cases.  Just how heavy was the box you were lifting when your back flared up?  How many times an hour were you lifting those boxes?  What were you standing on when you were lifting these boxes?  These types of questions are crucial in many work comp cases.  If your circumstances permit, note down these types of details.  And remember, "a picture is worth a thousand words"!

Have a question?  Call me at (435) 592-1235 or visit www.timothydanielslaw.com.

Worker's Right to Change Doctor

So, you feel trapped because your supervisor said you must go to WorkMed?  Good news:  Utah law allows injured workers to "make one change of doctor without requesting the permission of the [work comp insurance] carrier."  Here's the catch:  You must notify the insurance adjustor who your new doctor will be so the adjustor knows what bills are related to your industrial accident.  If the WorkMed doctor refers you to a specialist, that change of doctor does not count against you.  If anyone asks you, this rule is at R612-2-9(A)(2).

Have a question?  Call me at (435) 592-1235 or visit www.timothydanielslaw.com.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Put Aside Some $ for a Rainy Day

Dad always said to put aside some money "for a rainy day."  Good advice, Dad!  We don't plan on getting hurt at work, yet thousands of Utah workers get hurt each year.  Many workers lose their job or just plain cannot work due to their medical limitations, e.g., lower back pain.  These are tough situations:  Hurt and out of work.  Filing a suit against the work comp insurance company is often the only option when the company denies the claim.  But these lawsuits take time:  About 6 months to get a hearing with the Utah Labor Commission.  Then the judge gets 60 days to write her Findings of Fact, and then it takes about 6 months for the medical panel to provide their report.  Bottom line:  Please, please  do what you can to save some money for a rainy day.

Have a question?  Call me at (435) 592-1235 or visit www.timothydanielslaw.com.