The insurance companies pay their own attorneys and doctors substantially more than they are required to pay employees attorneys. In 2011, they spent a total of $11 million ($9.4 million and another $1.6 in litigation costs) to defeat employee’s claims. But they only paid employee attorneys a total of $4.4 million, less than half of what the spent on their own doctors and lawyers. Source: Alaska Workers Compensation Board Annual Report, 2011: http://labor.state.ak.us/wc/forms/2011AR.pdf.
Workers Compensation in Alaska is a multi-million dollar business. A total of $260.7 million was paid in benefits in 2011 including $160.4 million on medical benefits and $55.1 million in indemnity (TTD, TPD, PPI and PTD) benefits. These benefits include those paid to workers injured in prior years as well as 2011.
In 2011, over 21,000 workers were injured. Most of these injuries were to fingers and backs.
Employers filed 4,655 controversions in 3,550 cases in 2011, an increase of 18.1%. But only 1,224 claims were filed which means that there are well over 2,000 workers in 2011 alone who are not pursuing their rights under the Workers Compensation Act.
The Employers do not always file controversions which would alert the Employee to his rights when they treat Employees unfairly. The Employers will not tell you if you have the right to challenge the compensation rate which they have calculated or that you are entitled to travel benefits for every trip to a doctor or therapist. The Employers will not tell you that you have the right ask the Board to order the insurance company to pay for your surgery. The Employers will not tell you when you have the right to seek a Second Independent Medical Evaluation from the Board when the insurance doctor disagrees with you treating physician.
Bottom Line: There are many injured workers who are being controverted or treated unfairly that do not seek legal representation and the insurance companies spend are willing to pay hefty sums to keep from paying Employees. For more information regarding Workers Compensation benefits, visit: http://www.keenanpowell.com/faq-wc.html.