The Alaska Workers Compensation Act provides that a disabled injured worker is entitled to TTD (Temporary Total Disability) or TPD (Temporary Partial Disability) for the period of time during which he or she cannot work.
TTD is paid when the injured worker cannot work at all. TPD is paid when the injured worker is working part-time.
These payments begin when the employer, or his insurance adjuster, receives written notice that the injured worker is disabled. This is where a lot of injured workers make their first mistake. They trust the doctor to send the note to the right people. Or they trust a nurse case manager who the insurance company sent to get the note to the right people.
Don’t trust anyone to do your work for you. Doctor’s offices do not routinely send out work releases. They might. But they don’t always do it, nor do they think to do it. The folks at the doctor’s office front counter who process your bill don’t need to see the work release so they probably won’t look for it.
The nurse case manager is an insurance company spy. Her job is not to make sure you get the most you can out of your case. Her job is to make sure the insurance company pays as little as possible. So she has no incentive to ask for the work release and deliver it to the right people.
You need to get a copy of the written work release during your doctor visit. Do not leave the office without the work release. Ask for three copies: one for you, one for your employer and one for the insurance adjuster. Then, drive straight to your employer’s office and deliver a copy of the work release to them. Make a note on your copy of the work release of the date and time when you delivered it and the person you handed it to.
Then drive to the adjuster’s office and do the same thing. Make a note of the date and time you delivered it and who you gave it to. If the adjuster doesn’t have an Alaska office, go to Mail Boxes Etc or the UPS store or the Fed Ex store and fax it to the adjuster with your claim number, if you have it. If you don’t have the claim number, fax it anyway with the name of your employer and your date of injury. Keep a copy of the fax confirmation sheet for your records.
Get a new doctor’s work release every time you go see the doctor. Every time you get the work release, give a copy to your employer and a copy to the adjuster documenting again when it was delivered, as before.
Your first TTD or TPD check is due on the 14th day after the employer received the work release. AS 23.30.155(b). Subsequent payments should be made every 14 days after that. The payments will continue until you go back to work or are deemed medically stable or you are controverted.
If the payments are more than seven days late, you are entitled to a 25% penalty. AS 23.30.155(e). Some insurance companies will voluntarily pay the penalty but the recent trend is that you have to fight for it. To do that, you must file a claim with the Workers Compensation Division. http://labor.state.ak.us/wc/home.htm.
If your payments are not paid, or paid late or if you are controverted, you need to find out whether you are being treated fairly. Call an experienced Workers Compensation attorney.
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 handling hundreds of cases. www.keenanpowell.com.
All consultations are free. To make an appointment, use the contact form on this website or call: 907 258 7663.