Most injured workers, having not been involved in a workers compensation claim before, do not know that they do not have to pay for their own medical treatment.  But the hospitals and clinics surely know it, having been told time and again by Employee's and Employer's attorneys.

Nor can a provider send an injured worker's bill to collections.  In the recent case of Agcaoili v Providence, AWCB Decision No 13-0127,the Alaska Workers Compensation Board specifically ordered Providence to desist from efforts to collect fees from an injured workers. Agcaoili v Providence

Both charging an injured worker and sending his or her bill to collections is a violation of Alaska law.  Specifically, AS 23.30.097(f) provides that an employee may not be required to pay a fee or charge for medical treatment or service.  Recently the Alaska Workers Compensation Board stated that this provision applies to prescriptions as well.  It is the insurance companies' responsibility to ensure that prescriptions are filled and to make the necessary arrangements with pharmacies to ensure that there are.

If the insurance company handling your claim is refusing to pay for your medical bills or prescriptions, and as a result you are not obtaining medical treatment or medicine, then you may have a Workers Compensation claim and you should consult with an attorney.

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.

 

October is has the highest rates of pedestrians being struck by a motor vehicle.  Never good for the pedestrian.

According to the reasons for the increased rate are the shorter days and snow. Although we haven't had snow in town yet, the number of these accidents are on the rise.

http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/october-has-the-most-pedestrian-vehicle-crashes/-/21043658/22479434/-/dh0rsl/-/index.html

In addition, with no empirical proof to support me, I believe that drivers get crazier in October.

Although its legal to cross a road where no crosswalk is provided, the pedestrian still needs to keep a lookout for vehicles which may not have seen him. Alaskans favor dark clothes (they blend well with mud) which makes it harder to see them in the dark. Be aware that a car driver might not be able to see you whether you are in the cross walk or not.  And be aware that many drivers are not looking for you, they're in a hurry to get to wherever they're going.

If a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, he has the duty to stop, render aid and exchange information. Failure to do so is a hit and run. If the driver is at fault, his insurance will need to pay the damages.

For a free consultation, contact the Law Office of Keenan Powell. Fill out the contact form, use e-mail: keenan@keenanpowell.com or call 907 258 7663.

 

 

 

 

We’ve already had snow and it will be back. It’s a good time to evaluate whether you are prepared for winter.

Does your car after studded snow tires? It’s legal now to change them over. For safety’s sake, you should make sure that your brakes, head lights, brake lights and turning signals are functioning as well.

Have you cleared your sidewalk of fallen leaves? Leaves which left to decompose become slick and can cause someone to slip and fall.

If you don’t have salt or sand left over from last winter for treating your walkway, this is a good time buy some. You don’t want to be driving to the store on slick roads on a Sunday morning with everyone else when the snows hits. You should also make sure that you have an ice scrapper to clear your car for the inevitable dump.

You should also have adequate foot wear for walking across ice. If you slip and fall on someone’s premises and ask them to be responsible for your injuries, the first question they will ask is, what kind of shoes were you wearing?

If you are a home owner, check to make sure that you have adequate insurance to protect you in the event that someone is injured on your premises.

If you own apartments, you have a duty to make sure that the premises are safe and clear of snow and ice. It’s your job to make sure the driveways and walkways are clear. Leaving a bucket of salt by the front door for the tenants to use isn’t good enough. If you have the resources to finance an apartment complex and write it off your taxes, you can spring for a snow and ice removal.

One of insurance companies’ tricks to avoid paying Workers Compensation is to have their doctor state that there was no specific injury at work when the injury that the Employee sustained as a chronic overuse injury which accumulated over a period of time.

Another trick, often seen played at the same time, is for the insurance doctor to say that the pain the Employee is suffering is the result of a pre-existing condition.

The law is clear, and the insurance companies know it, that chronic overuse injuries are compensable under Alaska Workers Compensation law just like an injury from a traumatic event.
Some of the injuries seen develop from chronic overuse include hand nerve injuries, back and neck strains, herniated discs.

The law is equally clear, and the insurance companies know it, that when a work-related injury combines with, aggravates or accelerates a pre-existing condition, then it is still compensable Alaska Workers Compensation law. It is not important that the underlying problem (usually degenerative disc disease) was the result of work, but the pain was caused by working.

If the insurance company has controverted your benefits because it paid a doctor to say you weren’t hurt at work, you need to speak to an attorney.

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.

Yoga for Chronic Pain. Tuesdays 12:15 PM-1:15 PM. October 8 - October 29, 2013. $50. Inner Dance Studio, Anchorage. http://www.innerdanceyogastudio.com/  Taught by Jill Brekken, a physical therapist assistant.

Earth, Fire, Fibre XXIX, the popular mixed media art show often featuring Alaskan artists. October 6, 2013 - January 5, 2014. Anchorage Museum: http://www.anchoragemuseum.org/expansion/index.aspx.

Oktoberfest 2013. October 4-5, 2013, doors open at 7 PM. Egan Convention Center, Anchorage. Sponsored by the German Club of Anchorage. Adults $15, Children under 12, $5 (presumably the kids drink less beer.)

3-D Fright Haunted House begins the cherished Halloween season. October 4-5, October 11-12, October 17-31. 6-11 PM. Northway Mall, Anchorage. http://www.anchorage.net/events/3-d-fright-night-haunted-house.

Make it Alaskan Festival, the popular crafts fair. October 5-7, 2013. Sullivan arena, Anchorage

It’s time again for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk. October 5, 2013 10AM-2PM. Park Strip, Anchorage. http://makingstrides.acsevents.org.

Martin Short performs! October 6, 2013 7:30 PM. Performing Arts Center, Anchorage.

5th Annual Zombie Half Marathon and Kids’ Zombie 2K. October 12, 2013. Kincaid Park. Running in costume, not just a “Castle” episode. http://www.anchoragerunningclub.org/zombie.html.

The ever-popular Bead Arts Gala is back. October 14, 2013 10 AM-6 PM, Anchorage Museum. http://www.anchorage.net/events/bead-arts-gala.

Say it isn’t snow. But it will be soon. Learn snowshoeing basics. October 24, 2013 6-7:30 PM. REI, Anchorage. http://www.rei.com/event/43657/session/77145.

Fiddle player Eileen Ivers performs with the Anchorage Symphony October 26, 2013 at 8 PM. http://www.anchoragesymphony.org/web/home.aspx.

Spooktacular Ha-ha-halloween Show at the Snow Goose. Wear your costume! October 26 2013 at 8 PM. http://www.scaredscriptless.com/.

 

 

According to Allstate’s 2013 annual survey, every driver in Anchorage will be involved in a motor vehicle accident every 8.7 years.  Allstate Report 2013

The bad news is that our national ranking has been consistently slipping. In 2010, Allstate ranked Anchorage as the 124th safest city to drive in. In 2012, we were 128th. In 2013, we are now 132nd.

The good news is that the odds of being involved in an accident have not increased. Each one of us will be involved in an accident on average every 8.7 years and Anchorage’s relative accident likelihood is 15.3% greater than the national average. It appears that, Anchorage residents have not become worse drivers but the rest of the nation has become better drivers.

The really bad news is that our insurance rates are bound to go up, especially if you are insured by Allstate.

It is a good time to reevaluate whether your motor vehicle insurance is adequate. Alaska law requires you to carry a minimum of 50/100 bodily injury liability insurance. If you have the resources to purchase higher liability limits, you should do so. In the event that you cause an accident where the damages exceed $50,000 per person, then you will be responsible for paying the amount of any judgment obtained against you over $50,000. $50,000 is no longer adequate to pay for the most common injuries caused in motor vehicle accidents.

By the same token, if you have the resources you should carry both medical payments benefits and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The minimum medical payments benefit available is $5,000, which these days may cover one visit to the emergency room, depending on the nature of the injury and treatment. After the ER visit, you’ll be on your own paying for medical treatment unless you have increased medical payments benefits which pays 100% of your bills, not 70-80% as some health insurance companies pay.

The purpose of uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage is to pay you for your damages in the event that the at-fault driver is not insured, does not have enough insurance or you are involved in a hit and run. Again, $50,000 coverage is inadequate. If you have the resources, you should select as much uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage as you can afford.

For more information, see:  http://www.keenanpowell.com/faq-wc.html.

Contact Keenan Powell for a FREE CONSULTATION through the contact form or call: 258-7663. Toll free: 888-368-5678.

mailto:keenan@keenanpowell.com.

 

Sometimes in a Workers Compensation case, the insurance company will assign a nurse case manager whose job is to attend the doctor’s visits, consult with the patient and report back to the insurance company.

In theory, that sounds like a good thing.  But in practice, it is not.

I have seen cases where the nurse case manager has told the doctor what the insurance company will and will not pay for and as a result, the doctor has changed his treatment recommendations.  It is a felony for anyone to interfere with the doctor’s recommendations but the nurse case managers get away with it because some doctors think that they have to play ball with the insurance company.  It is particularly a problem when the doctor does not document that his treatment recommendation has changed because of the nurse case manager’s interference.

Another problem that I’ve seen is that the nurse case manager will try to persuade the injured worker that he or she is ready to go back to work sooner than the injured worker should have been.

And, perhaps most importantly, the nurse case manager is working on the supervision of the insurance adjuster.  Every question that she asks you, every thing that she says to you is at the direction of the insurance company for the sole purpose of minimizing the benefits it pays to the injured worker.

And everything you say is reported directly back to the insurance company.

You do not have to accept a nurse case manager.  It is up to the injured worker whether he or she will allow anyone else in to the room during the doctor’s visits.  The insurance company cannot discontinue your benefits because you refused the nurse case manager.

Be warned and be aware.

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.

mailto:keenan@keenanpowell.com.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/08/19917073-yarnell-hill-firefighters-kin-say-theyre-being-cheated-out-of-benefits?

 

Employer’s game playing to avoid paying benefits is the reason why I fight on the behalf of Employees.

In Alaska, employees are entitled to workers compensation benefits whether or not the employer wants to pay them, whether or not the employer carriers workers compensation insurance, whether or not the employer characterizes the employee as an independent contractor and whether or not the employer files a Report of Injury.

As long as an individual is an employee, as defined by the Workers Compensation law, that person is entitled to benefits.

And the beauty of the system is that the employer can be forced to pay penalties to the employee for denying benefits and if the insurance company is involved in bad faith denials, it can be reported to the Division of Insurance by the Workers Compensation Board.

Bottom line: the last person you should trust when you’re hurt at work is your employer.  Call an experienced Workers Compensation attorney and find out what your rights are.

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.

A driver who is backing up has a heightened duty under the law to make sure he doesn't hit anyone.  The most common accidents occur in parking lots and driveways.

Tragic results can occur of a driver backs out of his driveway without first checking to make sure that there aren't small children behind the vehicle.  I handled one such case several years ago which resulted in a child's death.  Children, depending on how young they are,  are not legally responsible for their actions and if a driver lives in a neighborhood where he can expect children to be riding bikes or playing in the street, on the sidewalk, behind his car, it is his responsibility to watch out for those children.

In the event that a driver does cause injuries when backing out of his driveway, his automobile liability insurance is responsible for paying the damages.  He may have, as well, homeowner's insurance which might provide coverage, both medical and bodily injury, and umbrella insurance which would provide additional coverage.

Of little consolation to the injured child's family, if the responsible driver had inadequate resources to pay for the damages, his or her driving privileges can be revoked administratively, whether or not he is prosecuted.

For more information, see http://www.keenanpowell.com/faq-wc.html

Contact Keenan Powell through the contact form or call: 258-7663.  Toll free: 888-368-5678.