medical-stuffWhen someone calls me for a consultation, I request they bring at the minimum the following documentation to the appointment:

  1. Controversion Notice(s), if any,
  2. All of the medical records relating to the injury,
  3. Any and all insurance doctors reports.

I may also request:

  1. All medical records from two years prior to the date of injury, if the insurance company is claiming there is a pre-existing injury,
  2. Tax records for the two years prior to the date of injury if there is an issue regarding the compensation rate.

Tip #1:  Getting the Board’s file:  You can obtain a complete copy of your Alaska Workers Compensation Board file which would include your Report of Injury, Controversion Notices, Claims, Answers, Prehearing Conference Summaries and some medical records directly from the Alaska Workers Compensation Board.  In Anchorage the address is 3301 Eagle St Ste 304. The telephone number is 269-4980. However, that file will not have your complete medical records so you still need to get them from the providers.

Tip #2:  Getting your medical records:  You should obtain complete medical records from each provider you have seen.  The papers the doctors hand to you when you leave the appointment is not the complete file so you need to request the records from every provider. That includes hospital emergency rooms, urgent care clinics, family practitioners, chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, pain doctors and physical therapists. To obtain the records, you can call the provider’s general information number and ask for the records department. Under Alaska law, you are entitled to a copy of your file. Most providers will give you one copy free of charge.

Tip #3:  Getting your tax records. You can obtain a copy of your tax records directly from the IRS.

Tip #4:   Be prepared for the appointment. If you don’t have the complete file prior to the appointment, call to reschedule.  The reason for your appointment is for you to obtain the most informed evaluation of your case which means that you need all of the documentation which was requested.

Keenan Powell has practiced Workers Compensation law in the State of Alaska for over 30 years and has dedicated her practice to Workers Compensation representing injured Alaskans.

All consultations are free.  To make an appointment, use the contact form on this website or call:  907 258 7663.

 

 

 

 

medical-stuff

An injured worker is entitled to one change of physician in the Alaska Workers Compensation Act.  AS 23.30.095(a). The policy behind allowing only one change of physician is to prevent "doctor shopping."  However, the following changes are not considered changes in physician:

  1.  Referral by one doctor to another doctor,
  2. Written consent by the insurance company to a change in physician,
  3. All the doctors in the same clinic,
  4. Hospital treatment or emergency care facility treatment,
  5. Physicians selected by the employer, or insurer,
  6. When the employee moves more than 50 miles from his/her doctor,
  7. When the attending physician dies or moves more than 50 miles away,
  8. If the attending physician refuses to treat the injured worker,
  9. If the injured worker requests the employer or insurer in writing to consent to change of physician and the employer or insurer do not respond in writing within 14 days of the request.

AS 23.30.095(a), 8 AAC 45.082(b),(c).

Of course, an injured worker can obtain treatment anywhere and from anyone he or she chooses however if s/he makes an excessive change of physician under the Alaska Workers Compensation Act, then under the current regulations, the reports of the subsequent physicians will not be admissible in a hearing and the insurer will not be ordered to pay the subsequent physicians even if the employee wins. 8 AAC 45.082(c). Whether this regulation is constitutional has not been litigated.

Keenan Powell has practiced Workers Compensation law in the State of Alaska for over 30 years and has dedicated her practice to Workers Compensation representing injured Alaskans. www.keenanpowell.com.

All consultations are free.  To make an appointment, use the contact form on this website or call:  (907) 258-7663.

 

 

medical-stuff

When you are injured at work, your employer's insurance company is required to pay 100% of your medical benefits. All you need to do is tell the doctor's office the name of the insurance company. The doctor's office will know who to contact to get paid.

If you have paid any expenses out of pocket, including prescriptions, for your treatment, you are entitled to be reimbursed by the insurance company. To obtain the reimbursement, you need to send copies of the receipts to the adjuster. Sending it certified mail is best so you can prove what date you sent them. If the reimbursements are late, you are entitled to a penalty.

You are entitled to treatment for your work-related injury as long as is necessary to cure, or improve, your condition. You may also be entitled to "palliative care" after your condition has reached maximum improvement. "Palliative care" is care which alleviates pain.

If you have any questions regarding your case, the Law Office of Keenan Powell provides free consultations regardless of whether or not you have been controverted.   To contact Keenan Powell, use the contact form on this page or call 258-7663.

For more information about Workers Compensation, see: http://www.keenanpowell.com/faq‑wc.html.

Free consultations.

If your TTD check is late, you are entitled to 25% penalty. The first payment from the insurance company is due 14 days of it learning that you are disabled. That means that it needs to have a note from the doctor in its file. The payment is late if it is mailed 7 days after it became due.

After the first payment is due, if your disability continues, then the subsequent payments are due every 14 days.

It sounds straightforward but it isn't. First, the insurance company needs the doctor's note in its file before it must pay you TTD. The doctor does not send the note to the insurance company. That is the injured worker's job. If you don't know who the insurance company is, deliver it to your employer.

The next issue is proving you gave it to your insurance company or your employer. The best proof is a receipt signed and dated by whomever you gave the note to.

The next problem is that these doctor's notes often expire. If the doctor wrote you off work until the next follow up visit, it's your job to get another work release from him at that follow up visit and deliver it to the insurance company or your employer. And keep the proof of that.

The next problem is proving the  payment was late. Keep the envelope the check came in. Make a xerox of the check. The check should be dated. The envelope should have a post-mark.

So in sum these are the things you need to prove that the TTD check was late and that you are entitled to penalties:

  1.  A doctor's note saying you cannot work,
  2. Proof that you delivered the doctor's note to the insurance company or your employer,
  3. Copy of the late check,
  4. The envelope the late check arrived in.

Keenan Powell has practiced Workers Compensation law in the State of Alaska for over 30 years and has dedicated her practice to Workers Compensation representing injured Alaskans. www.keenanpowell.com.

All consultations are free. To make an appointment, use the contact form on this website or call: (907) 258-7663.

 

Someone asked me today why I give free consultations.

gavel-booksI do that because injured workers are usually broke. It's bad enough they can't afford to support themselves or pay for medical treatment, they shouldn't have to pay for legal advise.

And if they don't have free access to information, they won't have a chance to fight their case.  And that's what the insurance companies want. They want to starve out injured workers to make them go away.

So I'm happy to review cases for free whether or not the injured worker has been controverted yet.  Sometimes a little advise before a problem arises will help the injured worker to avoid some of the pitfalls.

If I take the case, it's on a contingency fee basis which means I'm only paid by the insurance company at the end of the case if we are successful.  The injured worker is never responsible for paying my fees.

For a free consultation, call Keenan Powell at 258-7663.

 

Notice anything odd flying overhead? It’s not your imagination. The Municipality of Anchorage is using drone surveillance to spy on employees who file workers compensation claims.

drone

In the case of Manley v MOA, AWCB Decision No 15-0009, MOA used a drone to follow around an injured employee and claimed that the surveillance proved that he was in the business of buying and selling stuff (as opposed to selling stuff off because he needed the money). Because MOA said it had proof he was running a business, it wanted to access to all of his cell phones, computers, bank records and Pay Pal accounts.

The Alaska Workers Compensation Board said no.  It found that the MOA’s request was a “fishing expedition” (“an indiscriminate, far-reaching and speculative net with the hopes of ensnaring some relevant information”) and violated the employee’s constitutional right to privacy.

Meanwhile MOA gets to use the drones.  And so will any other employer. Be warned and beware.

Keenan Powell has practiced Workers Compensation law in the State of Alaska for over 30 years and has dedicated her practice to Workers Compensation representing injured Alaskans. www.keenanpowell.com.

All consultations are free.  To make an appointment, use the contact form on this website or call:  (907) 258-7663.

 

In Alaska Workers Compensation law, you are entitled to one change of physician. And you must notify the insurance company no later than 14 days after you changed physician. medical-stuff

There are stiff penalties if you make excessive changes of physician. Subsequent physician opinions are inadmissible before the Board and the insurance company will never have to pay that doctor's bill or reimburse you or another insurance company for that treatment.

Seeking a "second opinion" is a change of physician. If you receive any treatment or advice or an opinion or any type of service from a physician, it counts.

Some changes of physician do not count against the Employee:  emergency room visits, referrals from one physician to another, referrals made by the employer, insurer or nurse case manager or changes to which the insurance company consents in writing.

Keenan Powell has practiced Workers Compensation law in the State of Alaska for over 30 years and has dedicated her practice to Workers Compensation representing injured Alaskans. www.keenanpowell.com.

All consultations are free.  To make an appointment, use the contact form on this website or call:  (907) 258-7663.

 

gavel-books

 

First, allow me to say that the term “lawyer up” makes me insane. It was dreamt up by some Hollywood Law and Order writers to give the good guy cop characters another opportunity to sneer at someone. The writers use the term to drive the conflict up, to increase the drama, because if there isn’t conflict, there isn’t drama and there aren’t ratings and they lose their job.

Now, this sinister term has worked its way into the American lexicon. And not in a nice way. The implication is that a bad guy is using a lawyer to hide behind or to abuse a good guy. Nothing is further from the truth.

Honest hard-working citizens need lawyers when they are involved in a legal situation which is over their heads and just about every legal situation will be over their heads. Why? Because American jurisprudence evolved out of British jurisprudence and that means about eight hundred years of developing law. Law is constantly changing. The United States Congress changes it. The Alaska state legislature changes it.  The Courts interpret it.  Are you keeping up on the changes to the law?

Do you know how to fix your automatic transmission, file your own taxes, do your own dental or medical work? Maybe one or two of those things but not all. So you go to a professional who knows what they’re doing.

Are you going to take legal advise from a nurse who is hired by the insurance company or some other person who has never seen the inside of a court room? Or do you want someone standing beside you who knows procedure, law, what your rights are and how to deal with whatever happens next.

One of the great things about this country is citizen’s access to the courts.  And when you’re over your head in a legal situation: a divorce, criminal charges, personal injury claim, workers compensation injury, property dispute, consumer issues, landlord-tenant etc, you are entitled to have legal representation of your choice.  Someone who is licensed by the Bar Association.  Someone who is knowledgeable and experienced. Sometimes you’ll have to pay for your attorney, sometimes the attorney will take your case on a contingency fee basis.

Up to you, of course.  And if you decide to handle your legal matter by yourself or with the help of an uneducated, inexperienced non-professional, good luck with that.

medical stuffWhen you're injured at work, the insurance company is responsible for providing all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for treatment of the work-related injury.  If there are complications, the insurance company must pay for the treatment of that as well.This includes complications from the injury and/or complications from the treatment.

Some of the complications which have been litigated include infections, diverticulitis and nerve injuries caused by surgery.

The complications will be treated as the work-injury is treated. Not only must the insurance company pay for medical treatment of the complications, it must also pay for time loss as the result of the complications and for transportation to and from treatment.  If the complications contribute to an inability to return to the injured employee's job, then it may be grounds to seek reemployment benefits as well.

The Law Office of Keenan Powell provides free consultations regardless of whether or not you have been controverted.   To contact Keenan Powell, use the contact form on www.keenanpowell.com or call 258-7663.

 

gavel-booksFrequently I see medical records which clients have brought in that have notes scrawled all over them. DO NOT DO THAT!

In the first place, when you write all over the medical records it makes the records inadmissible and you'll need to go back to the doctor's office to get a clean copy.  The doctor may not have charged you for the first set but they will probably charge you for the second sent anywhere from $25 to $150 and up.  OPA currently charges $50 for records.  Alaska Spine Institute charges $75.

Second, I know what I'm looking for.  While I also want to know what is important to you, when you write all over the medical records it creates a distraction.

The injured workers' input is very important. The reason that I meet with clients when I review medical records is so they can explain to me what is important to them.   If you have comments about the medical records, write them out on a separate piece of paper noting the page and paragraph number to which you are responding and bring that paper with you to the consultation. That would be very helpful.

The Law Office of Keenan Powell provides free consultations regardless of whether or not you have been controverted.   To contact Keenan Powell, use the contact form on www.keenanpowell.com or call 258-7663.