Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a workers compensation attorney charge?

Workers compensation attorneys work on a contingency. In other words, if you lose your case, you don’t owe your attorney anything. Your attorney takes his fee from your recovery. By law, attorneys fees cannot be more than 15% of your recovery. In almost all instances, this fee is worth it. It is almost unheard of for an injured worker without an attorney to recover more than he would have had he hired one in the first place.

If I’m off work due to my work related injury, how much will I earn?

If your workers compensation doctor says that your injury is such that you are not able to work for a time, you are said to be temporarily totally disabled (“TTD”). During periods of TTD, you are entitled to 2/3 of your average weekly wage (“AWW”). Your AWW is calculated by averaging your wages for the 52 week period prior to your date of injury. This is an area where injured workers are frequently short changed by insurance companies. It may be a good idea to hire an attorney to protect your interests.

What if I’m on restricted or light duty?

If your workers compensation doctor allows you to return to work subject to restrictions (eg. no lifting over 10 lbs., or sedentary only), then you will still earn TD if your employer is unable to provide you with a job that complies with the doctor’s restrictions. If such a restricted duty job is provided but it pays less or you are given fewer hours, you are entitled to 2/3 the difference.

Can I chose my own doctor if I’m injured at work?

In many cases you cannot. Unless you are one of the rare people who had the foresight to pre-select a physician in the event you were injured at work, you will be required to select a physician from your employer’s medical provider network (“MPN”). These lists are notoriously populated by company hacks who give short shrift to your medical needs. You may have experienced such a doctor on your first visit to the industrial clinic after your injury. The most common recommendation by these doctors is to take some Ibuprofen and return to work. The most important aspect of your workers compensation claim is getting you the treatment you need. By hiring a competent workers compensation attorney, you can ensure that the best available physician is selected to treat your injury.

What will I recover at the end of my case?

Your workers compensation doctor will determine your date of maximum medical improvement (“MMI”). MMI means that your injury has stabilized and is getting neither better nor worse, and no additional treatment will have a reasonable likelihood of improving your condition in the near future. If at your date of MMI you have not completely recovered and you remain permanently partially disabled (“PPD”), your doctor will rate your disability percentage according to a guidebook published by the American Medical Association. Each of these percentages has a corresponding dollar figure set by statute and adjusted by factors like your age, your job, and the body part in question.
If your condition requires continuing medical care, you will be entitled to medical treatment at the employer’s expense for as long as you require it and without limitation. This is a blank check that insurance companies are eager to close the book on. In many cases, you can settle your “open medical” for a dollar figure in addition to your PPD award.
You might also be entitled to vocational training benefits in an amount commensurate with your disability rating.

What if I disagree with my rating, a diagnosis or a need for surgery?

If you disagree with your doctor’s diagnosis, recommendation, or permanent disability rating, you may order a second opinion by selecting a Qualified Medical Evaluator (“QME”) from a panel of three doctors randomly selected by the Department of Workers Compensation Medical Unit. After a thorough examination and review of the medical records, the QME will generate a comprehensive medical/legal report. This report carries the same weight as the report you are disputing unless your attorney uses an Agreed Medical Evaluator (“AME”) with the consent of the insurance company. The AME and QME selection process require the careful selection of an experienced workers compensation attorney, and is reason alone for you to contact an attorney today.

The information contained on this website represents opinion only and is not intended to, nor should be relied on as legal advice of any kind. Should you wish to consult with an attorney, contact an attorney at the Law Office of Jesse Terrell at (323) 638-4712.
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