When an insurance company sends you a Controversion Notice that means they will stop paying whatever benefits are listed.  The insurance company is required to list the reasons why it won’t pay those benefits anymore.  Usually the insurance company will controvert temporary total disability and medical benefits based upon the opinion of an insurance doctor.

If you think the insurance company is wrong, there is something you can do.  You can file a Claim with the Alaska Workers Compensation Board. The Board will ultimately decide in a hearing (it’s like a trial) whether the insurance company was right or wrong. If you win, you may receive past benefits, cash payments to you if you’re entitled to any, past medical bills. You might also get an order from the Board that the insurance company needs to pay for future medical benefits, like a specific surgery that you need.

There a many kinds of benefits that can be controverted and that can be claimed and that the Board will decide: reemployment benefits, travel benefits, permanent partial impairment benefits, permanent total disability.

If you have been controverted, you should talk to an attorney about your case. I have more than 30 years experience fighting for the rights of injured Alaskans.

Consultations are FREE.  Call 258-7663. 

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When you call attorneys about a workers compensation case, the first thing they ask you is whether you have been controverted.  The first reason is that as long as you’re being treated fairly by the insurance company, you don’t need an attorney. The second reason is getting your attorney paid.

When the attorney’s office asks you “have you been controverted?”, you need to know there are two kinds of controversions: the first kind is when the insurance company sends you a formal Controversion Notice.  It looks like this: Controversion Notice.

The second kind of controversion is sneakier.  It’s when the insurance company fails to pay your benefits timely or verbally tells you it isn’t going to pay your benefits but fails to issue the Controversion Notice.  This kind of controversion is called controversion-in-fact.

So when you answer the question “have you been controverted?” tell the attorney’s office whether you have received a formal Controversion Notice or, if not, whether you have had problems getting your benefits timely paid: whether your TTD or TPD has been paid timely, whether you are receiving medical treatment or if the insurance company is dragging its feet authorizing your medical treatment.

If the insurance company has controverted you wrongfully, then you should have no problem getting an attorney to represent you in a claim because if your case is won or settled, the insurance company will pay your attorneys fees.

If you have questions about your workers compensation claim, call my office.  I have more than 30 years experience fighting for the rights of injured Alaskans. Consultations are FREE.  Call 258-7663.

 

 

 

gavel-booksDo you want to know what the Alaska Workers Compensation Board is thinking? Maybe you went to hearing in your case and you're impatient for the result.  Well, the Board posts all of its decisions on line. You'll find your decision there before it comes to you in the mail.  Just go to the Board's website search engine: http://appeals.dol.alaska.gov/SearchRoot/workerscomp/. You can search by name or by date. Easy, peasy.

 

bigstock-Silhouette-1113353When you are injured at work, you are required to inform your employer. Your employer is required to inform its insurance carrier. The carrier is required to file a notice with the Alaska Workers Compensation Board (AWCB).

The AWCB maintains records of all reports of injury. It also acts as an administrative tribunal, like a court, when there is a dispute between the Employee and Employer or Insurer relating to the workers compensation injury. The AWCB does not have the power to adjudicate complaints that fall outside of the act, such as discrimination or work hazards.  There are other agencies who handle those issues.

The AWCB published the attached brochure explaining basic rights and responsibilities under the Alaska Workers Compensation Act: wc-brochure.

The AWCB maintains a website where more information can be obtained. http://labor.state.ak.us/wc/home.htm.

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.

 

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On July 22, 2015, the Alaska Workers Compensation Board issued a decision in Marquez v Sunset Haven, AWCB Decision No. 15-0086 awarding the Employee all of the benefits she requested!

The decision can be found at the Board's site: http://appeals.dol.alaska.gov/docs/workerscomp/2015/15-0086.pdf

Flordeliza Marquez was working as a personal care attendant for Sunset Haven. She was paid a salary plus room and board plus cash under the table for working overtime. She fell in November of 2014 fracturing to vertebrae. On account of her injuries, she was unable to work as an attendant and was forced to move from the home.

The Employer, whose workers compensation insurance had lapsed, disputed that the Ms. Marquez had been injured while working for him.

The Board found that Ms. Marquez was injured while she was working, that she had reported her injury to him timely, that she was entitled to back benefits which compensated her for her lost wages plus room and board, medical benefits, plus 25% penalties for the Employer’s failure to pay her disability timely, plus interest, plus fees and costs.

The Board ordered the Employer to pay Ms. Marquez what he owes her and if the does not pay within 30 days, the Alaska Workers Compensation Guaranty Fund will pay the judgment.

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

 

 

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The insurance companies frequently “offer” the injured employee a nurse case manager to “assist” in making appointments and to “accompany” the injured employee to doctors appointments. These people are insurance company spies.

Nurse spies are sent by the insurance company for a number of reasons: The nurse spy will discourage the doctor from recommending treatment the insurance company doesn’t want to pay for. The nurse spy will report back immediately to the insurance company of what was said so that the insurance company can adjust its strategy against you. The nurse spy will take anything you say and give it to the insurance company to use against you.  And the nurse spy will testify against you and the doctor at the hearing in your case.

You don’t have to accept the nurse spy’s “assistance”. You can refuse to allow her into the doctor’s visits.  The insurance company already has a release of information you signed when you were first hurt so it can collect your medical records, correspond and speak with your doctor. That is all the insurance company is legally entitled to.

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.

gavel-booksYesterday, the Alaska Workers Compensation Board handed down an opinion in Baker v Pro West Contractors and Liberty Northwest, Decision No 15-0069 (6/16/15), slamming Liberty Northwest (LNW) for its treatment of an Employee.  In that case, I had negotiated a settlement with LNW by which it agreed to pay all of the Employee's medical bills for his work injury. Then LNW didn't pay them.  It tried to negotiate the bills and when the providers wouldn't accept less than what was owed, they just didn't pay the bill.  Then the providers came after the Employee again for payment of the bills.

I filed a Claim against LNW which went to hearing on 3/19/15. In its defense, LNW claimed that it didn't agree to pay the bills, only to repay the Employee for any bills he had paid.  (The bills were well over $100,000). That is not the law.

In yesterday's decision, the Board held that the employee was entitled to have the bills paid and the providers were entitled to be paid with penalties. The decision can be found on the Alaska Workers Compensation Board's website: http://uiappeals.labor.alaska.gov/SearchRoot/workcomp/search.htm.

I have practiced Workers Compensation law in the State of Alaska for over 30 years and have dedicated my practice to representing injured Alaskans handling hundreds of cases in Workers Compensation cases. 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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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.

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Frequently I'm asked by clients what they should say. What should they tell the adjuster? What should they tell opposing counsel in a deposition? What should they say in a hearing?

My answer is always the same: tell the truth. I shouldn't have to explain why but I will anyway.  Tell the truth because your testimony is the most important evidence in the case. If the other side thinks you're lying, they're going to go out of their way to destroy your case.  If the Workers Compensation Board thinks you're lying, you'll lose.

If your attorney finds out you lied or are lying, he or she will probably withdraw from your case and you'll be on your own.

And, last if not least, insurance fraud is a crime. Telling a lie in order to obtain benefits can land you in jail just like Amancio Zamora Agcaoili, Jr. who got a 30 month sentence in the federal pen. See: http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/postal-worker-gets-prison-time-365k-bill-for-fraudulent-workers-comp/32867922.

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 stuffWhy does it seem the insurance company is in a hurry to get the doctor to release you to light duty? Because if the doctor releases you to light duty and your employer is willing to give you a light duty job, then the insurance company doesn't have to pay you temporary total disability (TTD benefits) anymore.

But that's only if the light duty is full-time work. If the doctor says you can work part-time and if your employer agrees to give you a part-time job, then you are entitled to temporary partial disability (TPD) which compensates yo for the the wages you're missing out on.

And, most especially, the insurance company is entitled to cut off your TTD if and only if your employer is willing to accommodate the limitations set by your physician.  If your employer let you go when you got injured, you don't have to go out and find a part-time light duty job, you are still entitled to TTD even if the doctor gave you light duty.

If the doctor does prescribes light duty and the employer is willing to accommodate the restrictions, that's always better for the injured worker than sitting at home collecting TTD.  Getting back into the labor force sooner is better for the worker's self esteem and state of mind.  The worker will earn more money at work than TTD or TPD pays. And being in the work force builds a better work history for future employment.

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.