xrayWhen you are referred for a PPI rating, the doctor will review your medical records, perhaps examine you, perhaps review a Physical Capacity Evaluation, and then refer to the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (6th edition) which lists nearly every kind of injury that can occur to a person and instructs the doctor how to evaluate the injury.  The Alaska Workers Compensation Board mandates the use of the AMA Guidelines, there is no getting around it.  However the doctor does have some discretion in classifying your injury based upon many factors, one of which is the amount of pain created by the injury.  Therefor it is important for the doctor to have all of your medical records, including your MRIs and x-rays, as well as a full knowledge of how the injury has impacted your life.

If you disagree with the insurance doctor's PPI rating, you can ask your own physician to review it and to refer you to someone who will do a PPI rating on your behalf.

If it has been some time since your injury and you are no longer being treated, or your treatment is only for pain and isn't going to improve your underlying condition, and you haven't been referred for a PPI rating yet, ask your doctor to do so.

The Law Office of Keenan Powell provides one FREE CONSULTATION 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.

www.keenanpowell.com/faq-wc.htl

 

 

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There’s been a recommendation for surgery.  The surgeon’s office calls the insurance company requesting it to pre-authorize the surgery so the surgeon knows he’s going to get paid.  Then the insurance company either flatly refuses to pre-authorize the surgery or doesn’t return the surgeon’s call.

So the employee can’t get the surgery and can’t go back to work because the doctor won’t release him to full duty.  Meanwhile, his employer has replaced him.

If the employee can get an adjuster on the phone, the adjuster tells him that the insurance company does not have a duty to pre-authorize medical treatment.  The adjuster suggests that the surgeon go ahead and perform the surgery and the insurance company might pay the bill afterwards knowing, of course, the surgeon won’t do that.  Or, the adjuster will suggest, the employee can pay for the surgery himself and ask for reimbursement.  Like, who has the money for that?

This situation is so common that over twenty years ago, the Supreme Court for the State of Alaska ruled an injured worker who has been receiving medical treatment should have the right to prospective determination of compensability.  Summers v Korobkin Construction, 814 P 2d 1369 (Alaska, 1991).

That means filing a claim.

It also means you can get an attorney.  The second thing the insurance company is trying to do, other than denying medical benefits, is preventing the injured employee from finding a lawyer to represent him.  When you call for an attorney, most lawyers will ask “Have you been controverted?”  That means have you received a formal Notice of Controversion (a document) from the insurance company.  If the answer is no, many attorneys aren’t interested in the case because, as a rule, the attorney cannot bet paid if the claim hasn’t been controverted.

But there are formal and informal controversions.  If the insurance company has resisted paying benefits, then its action constitutes a “controversion in fact” and justifies an award of fees.

If you hit a wall when you tell the person answering the attorney’s phone that the claim has not been controverted, call another attorney. Keenan Powell has more than 30 years experience fighting for the rights of injured Alaskans.

At the Law Office of Keenan Powell, you can get a free consultation by call 258-7663.

Joseph Heller's quote is as true in workers compensation as it is in real life.  There are individuals, and companies, who make a living following around injured employees to "detect" the injured employee acting "not injured".  In fact, the 2013 ACS yellow pages lists at least 19 such companies which is about twice as many orthopedic physicians listed.

Not surprising then that the insurance companies spend a lot of money on defense, and that amount is increasing, as the amount paid to injured workers is decreasing.

So if you were injured at work and you think someone is following you around, you probably right.  Things you should look for: a man or woman walking towards you wearing baseball caps (cameras can be hidden inside), or walking around you carrying briefcases (camera inside) or a newspaper folded under his arm (camera hidden in the newspaper).

You should also be aware of people  in cars.  In the last case where I obtained video surveillance of my client, the "investigators" followed him from his house to his house, video'd him walking into the doctor's office, and out of the doctor's office, smoking a cigarette outside a building, and driving home again. The investigator's report claimed my client did not look injured but when I watched the video, it was obvious that he was.  The Workers Compensation Board agreed with me.

I've also seen videos of my clients pumping gas and carrying milk out of the grocery store.

Try to be aware of nondescript cars or trucks that seem to be everywhere.  Try to be aware of someone sitting in a car outside your home.  Go out, talk to him, get his name, ask him if he's lost or looking for someone, take his photo with your phone, get his license plate number. It's a lousy private investigator who gets caught.

And look for a lawyer because the insurance company is building a case to terminate your benefits.

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.

 

Representative Stoltz (R-Chugiak) is introducing a resolution to elect the state's Attorney General and limit his (or her) terms.

The Attorney General is the highest office for the State's law department.  The person who occupies that office advises the Governor and supervises the law department making decisions on how to staff the law department. For instance when a former Lt. Governor refused to certify any voter petitions to change the law for election, the department of law created an elections section and staffed it.  It seems to have been absorbed since then.

Generally the Attorney General is appointed from a small list of the elected Governor's friends and supporters. The problem with this system is rather than have the Attorney General exercise independent legal judgment and advise the Governor regarding the constitutionality of what he (or she) wants to do, the Attorney General becomes part of the Governor's team and instead seeks ways to advance the Governor's platforms.

So electing an Attorney General would introduce the opportunity for independence between the Attorney General and the Governor.

On the other hand, the person who is elected will be another politician, someone who has the support and funds to campaign and someone who may have higher ambitions thereby introducing the opportunity for someone to use the Attorney General's office to advance his (or her) own career.

In the final analysis, if the Attorney General is elected we might get a good attorney in there.  The current system discourages that.  For more information: http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/resolution-could-make-attorney-general-elected-position/-/21043658/23916646/-/47xfqn/-/index.html.

 

Chilkoot Charlies is being sued for serving an intoxicated person, who then drove drunk and killed someone:

http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/family-sues-chilkoot-charlies-after-womans-death-in-dui-crash/-/21043658/23813320/-/e40astz/-/index.html

Not surprisingly, Chilkoot Charlies, which makes a fortune from serving intoxicated people, refuses to accept responsibility for the natural consequences of doing so.  It will be up to a jury to decide whether the bar can reap the benefits of its profitable industry without sharing in the responsibility.

Keenan Powell has more than 30 years experience representing injured Alaskans in Anchorage and the Valley. For a free consultation, fill out the contact form or call 907 258 7663.

 

One commenter on the KTUU story is wondering why details regarding the recent tragic loss of a cyclist have not been made public:  http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/city-streets-an-urban-hazard-for-anchorage-cyclists/-/21043658/23765170/-/ub3nfmz/-/index.html.

The reason is Anchorage Police Department does not release details of an investigation until after a decision has been made about prosecution.  If APD determines that the vehicle driver was in the wrong, then he or she could well be facing vehicular manslaughter charges, a homicide.  It will probably be several  weeks before the decision is made.  APD has probably interviewed all of the witnesses, inspected the car and bicycle and possibly taking blood tests of both the victim and the driver.  When the investigation is completed, APD will meet with the District Attorney's Office and the DA will decide whether to press charges.  If the DA prosecutes, it will alert the media.

Meanwhile, despite some mean-spirited comments on the KTUU site, cyclists are entitled under the law to use the streets as well as vehicles.  And vehicles under the law have a duty to keep a proper lookout.  And there is no duty under the law which requires users of the roads to proceed at the speed limit.

In fact,  the speed limit posted is the maximum speed limit for  good conditions.  Many, many people are receive tickets for driving less than the speed limit when road conditions are bad.  And, in turn, these people can be held liable for causing injuries or death to another if they exceeded a safe speed for the conditions.

Another issue in cyclist safety is the "right hand hook".  Many drivers fail to stop before turning right, fail to look both ways to ensure the traffic is clear.  Many drivers, if they do stop, roll past the white line designated for a stop and roll past the stop sign when they do stop.  That is the reason so many people ride in the street rather than sidewalks so that they can see the "rolling stops" from a distance.

For a complete list of the applicable laws, see http://www.muni.org/Departments/OCPD/Planning/AMATS/Documents.  Search for the Adopted Bicycle Plan Appendices.

If you are riding your bike and are injured in a collision with a vehicle, call a personal injury attorney.  Contact Keenan Powell: keenan@keenanpowell.com, (907) 258-7663.

SettersphotoWhen you're in a car accident, the second thing you need to do (after reporting the accident) is to see a doctor. Many people feel fine immediately after an accident only to learn in the coming hours and days that they were indeed injured.   It's typical to feel beaten up with strain/sprain injuries (also known as "whiplash") and it is common for  injured persons to suffer pain and stiffness for weeks or longer after an accident.  A medical doctor can prescribe anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants and/or physical therapy that will speed recovery.  If your injury persists, you need to go back to the doctor for further evaluation (MRI, X-ray etc) to determine whether you suffered a more serious injury.

Many people ask whether the value of their settlement is determined by the costs of medical treatment.  The answer is: sometimes.  Many people have heard an urban myth that their settlement is worth three times their medical bills, so they treat unnecessarily to drive up the cost of the settlement.  Insurance adjusters see through that.  They've heard the same urban myths.

The only legitimate reason to obtain treatment for an injury is because you need it to either recover from the injury or to alleviate pain or disability.  Obtain the treatment that you need and only the treatment that you need and worry about the settlement later.

For more information, visit FAQ page at  keenanpowell.com: http://keenanpowell.com/faq-mva.html.

Keenan Powell has more than 30 years experience representing injured Alaskans in Anchorage and the Valley. For a free consultation, fill out the contact form or call 907 258 7663.

 

 

 

A bicyclist was killed today crossing Northern Lights at 2:30 in the afternoon.  http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/cyclist-dies-after-getting-hit-crossing-midtown-intersection/-/21043658/23747610/-/7ilv1k/-/index.html

Everyone who uses the roads needs to be sensitive to the presence of cyclists.  The  cyclists need to be aware of their surroundings and avoid risk taking.  Vehicle drivers need to remember that cyclists, as well as pedestrians and wildlife, are entitled  to the use of roads and will at times get in the way.  Depending on the circumstances, the driver could well be legally responsible if he strikes a cyclist and, more importantly, will live with the consequence of his actions for the rest of his life. If you don't care about the well being of other people on the road, then you should consider how the a tragic accident will impact the life of the negligent driver.  Possible criminal charges, jail, attorneys fees,  fines, loss of driving privileges are just the beginning.

For a complete list of the applicable laws, see http://www.muni.org/Departments/OCPD/Planning/AMATS/Documents.  Search for the Adopted Bicycle Plan Appendices.

If you are riding your bike and are injured in a collision with a vehicle, call a personal injury attorney.  Contact Keenan Powell: keenan@keenanpowell.com, (907) 258-7663.