Many times we tell people with relatively minor injuries how to file their D.C. workers comp claim and handle the case themselves, especially if they haven't missed any time from work and don't need much medical treatment. So if that's you, you don't need a lawyer.
But if you've had a more serious injury, with surgery, or a permanent injury and can't work, and you are getting workers comp benefits from the insurance company right now, keep reading!
I often tell people, the workers comp insurance company will try to limit, deny or harm you in every serious injury case - sometimes it's at the beginning, sometimes the middle, and sometimes at the end.
You see, there is nothing that prevents the workers comp insurance company from stopping your benefits or medical treatment. They don't have to tell you, they just file a form. And worst of all, maybe you've unknowingly given them a reason to stop your benefits - because you're not an expert in D.C. workers comp law and regulations (there are 58 chapters of regulations in addition to the statute itself) and you don't have an army of adjusters, case managers, nurses, investigators, insurance lawyers, and doctors at your disposal, and you probably haven't handled thousands of DC workers comp cases for the insurance company, like your adjuster has.
Here's just a few of the ways we see people with legitimate injuries at work, who are getting benefits, wreck their case:
- You're trying to be reasonable and please the insurance company that is sending you checks, so you go see the doctor they recommend to treat your injuries, because they say he is an "approved" doctor, or "on the panel" or that "is in network." Six months later, he says you are fine, can go back to work, or that the injury was probably really a degenerative condition you just had... First, there is no such thing as an "approved" doctor, no "panel" and no "network" and second, if that doctor gets all his patients from workers comp insurance companies, whose side is he on?
- Again, you're thinking you're doing the right thing, being reasonable, and so you keep going to those "independent" medical exams they send you to. How would you know that there are limits on how often you can go to these? And do you trust them to be "independent" when the insurance company is really doctor shopping?
- You're not careful with social media (yes they check all of this) and something you or someone else posts can be misinterpreted against you.
- They have their investigators stake out your house for 2 weeks and get 10 minutes of video of you carrying groceries. Do you know how to challenge this?
- A nurse from the insurance company goes to your appointments. You don't like it but they tell you she has to, or your doctor thinks she has to be there. Maybe she doesn't come in to the exam, but she meets with your doctor alone afterwards. Her whole job is to lobby your doctor to send you back to work early (often by not telling him all of the physical parts of your job) and limit your medical treatment (Does he really need that MRI, doctor? It's an expensive test, you know.) How do you deal with that?
The smartest thing you can do for yourself and your family is get the best lawyer you can find for your workers comp case. Here's why:
We can prevent or limit the damage the insurance company is trying to do - they know they can't do a lot of this when we're on the case because we don't allow it. You see, we want to prevent the mistakes that will ultimately kill your case before it's too late. We've had to turn people away that we could have helped if they'd come to us 6 months earlier (and they'd be a lot better off financially and emotionally) because they just let the insurance company take it to them. The worst part - they didn't even know they were getting taken advantage of. How could they?
Some people are worried about what their job will think. They like their company. We totally understand. That's why we only deal with the workers comp insurance company, not your job. Because at this point, the insurance company is calling the shots, not your boss, HR or even the company owner.
And the insurance company has no loyalty or duty to you - their only duty is to maximize profits for their shareholders. And that means limiting the amount they pay you.
Some people are worried about how they can afford a lawyer. We get that. The best part is, it doesn't cost you anything while you're getting benefits. We wait to get paid until the end of the case, out of a big settlement or large award, we don't take any part of your workers comp check, or any money at all for that matter.
You made a great decision to investigate the workers comp system. Hopefully this website and Mr. Kearney's book - he's the only lawyer who has literally written the book on D.C. workers comp - have helped.
Now take the next step to really protect yourself and your family by calling us at (202) 393 - 3320.