Insurance companies don't like to pay for “palliative care”.

“Palliative care” is defined as “medical care or treatment rendered to reduce or moderate temporarily the intensity of pain caused by an otherwise stable medical condition, but does not include those medical services rendered to diagnose, heal, or permanently alleviate or eliminate a medical condition. AS 23.30.395(29).

In other words, palliative care isn’t going to fix you but it will help you deal with your pain. The most common types of palliative care are chiropractic treatment and chronic pain medication.

The Employer is obligated to pay for palliative care even after medically stability (not going to get better) under the following conditions:

  1. To enable the employee to continue in the employee’s employment at the time of treatment,
  2. to enable the employee to continue to participate in an approved reemployment plan, or
  3. to relieve chronic debilitating pain.

AS 23.30.095(o).

In order to receive palliative care, you doctor must certify that the care meets on of those three requirements.

If your benefits have been controverted, you need to speak with an 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.

medical-stuff

gavel-booksThe question is:  Do an injured employee get workers compensation benefits when he or she is assaulted in the workplace?

The answer is: Maybe.

As a general rule, workplace assault is not covered by workers compensation. However in a recent case, Devine v Great Divide Ins. Co., the Alaska Supreme Court held that because the employer engendered, exacerbated or facilitated a workers’ assault, the then injuries arose out of an in the course of employment.

The facts of the case are: Thomas Sindorf was helping out Paul Chatari in his concrete business on July 7, 2009. Chatari had an employee, Christopher Todd Allen, who hated Sindorf. Allen told Chatari that he could not work in Sindorf’s presence. In order to calm him down, Chatari gave Allen two Valium.

Chatari knew Allen well enough to know that he was a violent person. Allen left the job side and then returned. Chatari did nothing to warn Sindorf or to warn the other employees about Allen. Chartari did nothing to stop Allen from attacking Sindorf.

When Allen returned to the jobsite, Allen attacked Chartari twice causing him significant injuries to his teeth, hip, shoulders and head. Allen was charged and convicted of assault.

If you were assaulted in the workplace, your entitlement to benefits will depend on the evidence. Did the business owner or your supervisor know that the person who assaulted you was violent? Did the business owner or your supervisor know that the person would single you out? Did the business owner or your supervisor warn you or take any steps to protect you?

If you were assaulted in the workplace and required medical attention or were disabled, you should speak with an 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.  A sample of verdicts she has obtained for Employees is found at  http://www.keenanpowell.com/settlements_wc.html.

There is absolutely no fee for a consultation, all consultations are free.  If you want to set up a meeting, use the contact form on this website or call:  907 258 7663.

 

medical-stuffThis time of year, I get a lot of calls from workers who have been unfairly denied Workers Compensation benefits. Some of the illegal excuses that the employers or the insurers use are:

  1.  The injury was not reported on time. FALSE. You are required to report your injury when you have lost time from work or sought medical treatment AND you know that your injury is work-related. Most workers try to shake off their work injuries and don't want to complain about every little scratch and strain. So its reasonable that they would wait until the injury does not resolve to go see the doctor. If you report the injury after you saw the doctor, then you reported it timely. And if your boss or supervisor was aware you were hurt, then you reported it timely.
  2. You didn't fill out a report of injury. FALSE. It's the employer's responsibility to fill out the report of injury and to file it with the board.
  3. Your work injury is an aggravation of a preexisting condition (which never bothered you before). FALSE. When a work injury accelerates, aggravates or combines with a preexisting injury to cause a disability or need for medical treatment, it is still a workers compensation injury.

Workers Compensation law is complicated. If you have been denied benefits, for whatever reason, 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 found on the website, www.keenanpowell.com or call 258-7663.

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

The general rule is that Temporary Total Disability (TTD) is computed based upon the best of the employee’s prior two years of earnings. Say the employee was injured in 2016 and he would have made $30,000 but in 2015 he made $15,000 and in 2014, he made $4,000. His TTD would be computed based on the $15,000 he earned in 2015.

There are exceptions to this rule.  In order to determine whether an exception applies to your case, you will need to speak with an attorney.

To find out how much money you would be entitled to, you divide the gross earnings of that best year (in our case $15,000) by 50 to yield a Gross Weekly Wage.  If the gross earning were $15,000, that divided by 50 equals $300 Gross Weekly Wages.

Then you go to the Alaska Workers Compensation Board website’s Benefit Calculator Page: http://labor.state.ak.us/wc/benefitcalculator.htm.

In box marked "type of benefit", you would select Temporary Total Disability, then type in your date of injury and your Gross Weekly Wage and the website will compute how much you are entitled to. In our case, if the Employee was injured on 2/1/2016 and had a Gross Weekly Wage of $300, and he filed his taxes as single with one exemption, then he would be entitled to $259.14 per week. The checks come every two weeks so he would receive $518.28 for every two-week period that he was totally disabled from work.

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

All consultations are free.  If you want to set up a meeting, use the contact form on www.keenanpowell.com or call:  907 258 7663.

 

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.

 

 

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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.