In California workers’ compensation, an Independent Medical Review (IMR) can be a crucial step in determining the course of your medical treatment and benefits. However, what happens when you receive an IMR decision that you disagree with? This blog post will guide you through the process of appealing an IMR decision, ensuring that your rights and medical needs are properly addressed.
Understanding the IMR Process:
By way of background, it’s important to understand the IMR process itself. IMR is a mechanism designed to resolve disputes about the medical necessity of treatment in workers’ compensation cases. When a Utilization Review (UR) denies or modifies the treatment requested by the treating physician, there is a disagreement between you, your treating, an IMR can be initiated by the injured worker within the time limits and format permitted by law.
Reasons for Appealing an IMR Decision:
You may consider appealing an IMR decision if you believe that:
- The IMR Decision is Incorrect: If you disagree with the IMR decision and believe that it doesn’t accurately reflect your medical needs based on the records in your case.
- New Information Emerges: New medical information or circumstances arise that were not considered during the initial IMR process and could impact the decision.
Steps to Appeal an IMR Decision:
- Review the Decision: Carefully review the IMR decision to understand the rationale behind it. Note any discrepancies or areas where you believe the decision is incorrect.
- Request Reconsideration: In California, you have the option to request appeal the decision by filing a timely challenge before the Workers Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). This involves filing a written appeal along with any supporting evidence that you believe should be considered based upon the grounds the law provides.
- Seek Legal Assistance: If medical treatment is denied by UR and IMR, consider seeking legal assistance from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. They can help you explore additional legal avenues, including challenging the UR and the legality of denying the medical treatment you deserve.
Appealing an IMR decision is a vital step if you believe your medical treatment and benefits are not being appropriately provided. Understanding the process and seeking legal assistance when necessary can make a significant difference in the outcome of your workers’ compensation treatment.
If you’re facing an IMR decision that you wish to appeal, don’t hesitate to contact Thomas F. Martin, PLC, a trusted workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County with over 30 years of experience, at 714-547-5025. Pursuing your rights in the workers compensation system is his priority, and he is dedicated to ensuring you receive the care and benefits you deserve.
When it comes to workplace injuries and workers’ compensation claims, one term that often comes up is “Medical Provider Network” or MPN. But what exactly is an MPN, and how does it impact injured workers seeking medical treatment? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the details of Medical Provider Networks and their role in the workers’ compensation system.
What is a Medical Provider Network (MPN)?
A Medical Provider Network, commonly referred to as an MPN, is a network of healthcare providers and doctors approved by an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. These networks are established to provide medical treatment and care to employees who have sustained work-related injuries or illnesses AND control the costs of treatment, often jeopardizing the health of the injured worker. Although the primary objective of an MPN SHOULD be to ensure that injured workers receive prompt and appropriate medical attention and facilitate their recovery and return to work. Unfortunately, all too often saving money seems to be the ultimate goal of MPN’s.
Key Features of MPNs:
- Controlled list of Providers: MPNs consist of a group of healthcare professionals and medical facilities, including physicians, specialists, hospitals, and clinics that are handpicked by the insurance company. Injured workers are required to seek medical treatment from healthcare providers within the MPN unless a legal exception applies.
- Quality Assurance? MPNs should be subject to rigorous evaluation and approval processes by the state’s workers’ compensation regulatory agency, but unfortunately, insurance companies are permitted to include anyone they want in an MPN, and the State authorities cannot question it.
- Treatment Coordination? Within an MPN, there should be focus on coordinating and managing the care of injured employees, but many injured workers experience delay, denial and chaotic treatment that prevents them from healing and getting back to work.
Challenges and Seeking Legal Assistance:
While MPNs offer some assistance for minor injuries, in complex injuries injured workers usually face challenges in obtaining the treatment they need to get back to work. In such cases, it’s crucial to seek legal assistance from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County, like Thomas F. Martin, PLC.
Attorneys like Mr. Martin have extensive knowledge of workers’ compensation laws and can advocate for injured workers’ rights. Whether it involves ensuring access to the right medical specialists or addressing treatment disputes at the courthouse, having legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of a workers’ compensation claim. Medical Provider Network (MPN) in serious cases often fall short in providing the crucial medical care injured workers need. While MPNs save money for insurance companies, they often jeopardize the injured workers’ health and recovery with delays and denials of treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your workers’ compensation treatment within an MPN, don’t hesitate to reach out to Thomas F. Martin, PLC, a trusted workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County with over 30 years of experience.
When it comes to navigating the intricate landscape of workers’ compensation benefits, securing the assistance of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County is essential. These benefits are designed to provide crucial medical and financial support to injured workers, but understanding the various types and how they apply to your specific situation can be complex. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to and why having a trusted Orange County workers’ compensation attorney by your side is crucial.
Workers’ compensation is designed to ensure that injured employees receive comprehensive medical care and evaluations, covering expenses such as doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, physical therapy, surgery, and ongoing treatments. To be eligible for these benefits, the injury must be work-related, either occurring at the workplace or developing gradually due to work activities. It must also fall within the course and scope of employment. For instance, a slip and fall in a restaurant kitchen or the development of carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive tasks both qualify for workers’ comp benefits. If the insurance company disputes the work-related nature of your injury or denies coverage for necessary medical care, consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County may prove to be of great assistance. Consultations are free.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits:
Temporary Total Disability benefits provide financial support to workers who are temporarily unable to work due to an injury or illness. In California, the current minimum TTD benefit is $242.86 per week, with a maximum weekly amount of $1,619.15 (as of January 1, 2023) . Eligibility hinges on the employee’s inability to work during their recovery period according to a medical doctor. In some cases, workers may qualify for a supplement to their lost wages if they can return to work on a limited basis. This is called Temporary Partial Disability (TPD).
Permanent Disability (PD) Benefits:
When a worker sustains a permanent limitation because of a work injury, the worker may be entitled to Permanent Disability benefits. These benefits are determined by physician’s evaluations, the worker’s age, and their occupation. The resulting disability percentage is then used to calculate the permanent disability compensation based on a chart.
Job Displacement Benefits:
In California, employees whose employers cannot accommodate their return to work or provide an alternative role may be eligible for supplemental job displacement benefits. Typically offered as a $6,000 voucher, the amount depends on the severity of the disability. This voucher can be used for job-related expenses, including training, licensing, certification, tests, and other costs associated with a career change.
Securing the Benefits You Deserve:
The process of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits can be intricate, with insurance companies often disputing claims or minimizing payouts. Let’s face it – insurance companies make billions of dollars of profit by collecting insurance premiums from employers and paying as little as possible in benefits to legitimately injured workers. To ensure you receive the benefits you rightfully deserve, consider retaining the services of a competent workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County.
Award-winning attorney Thomas F. Martin, PLC, limits his practice to advocating for injured workers before the workers compensation courts (WCAB) in California. To discuss your claim and secure the support you need, call us today at 714-547-5025 for a confidential consultation. With our experienced legal team by your side, you can navigate the complexities of workers’ compensation and secure the benefits you’re entitled to.
Securing the Benefits You Deserve After A Work Injury: A Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Orange County:
In the aftermath of a workplace injury in California, the journey can include stress from recovering from your health and financial losses, but also the stress of navigating the workers compensation system itself. The paperwork, doctor’s appointments, communication with employers and claims administrators can be intimidating. If you are faced with these stresses, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County can help.
How Workers’ Comp Attorneys Support Injured California Workers:
Insurance companies are infamous for being skeptical of legitimate claims, seeking any potential reason to delay or deny compensation. Often, injured workers aren’t aware that they have the right to retain the aid of an attorney to secure the benefits they deserve. In cases where legitimate claims face denial, workers’ compensation judges can step in to determine the rightful benefits owed. For those who’ve had their claims denied or delayed, hiring an experienced attorney may be necessary to secure legitimately owed benefits.
Navigating the workers’ compensation system is not easy (even for some attorneys!) especially given its ever-evolving legal landscape. Seasoned workers’ compensation attorneys in Orange County should be keeping themselves informed about the latest legal developments and aggressively apply these laws to ensure that workers receive the medical treatment and wage replacement benefits they’re entitled to.
What sets an experienced attorney apart from the rest of the attorneys who “do” workers’ compensation is not only a thorough understanding of the system, and its almost daily changes, but how unique your case is and making certain the fine points of YOUR case are documenting for the Judge.
Moreover, in addition to workers’ compensation benefits, injured workers might have other claims outside the workers’ compensation system, including a claim against a person or business that caused the injury. This is known as a “third-party” claim. If a worker was harmed by a third party ( a person or business other than your employer) , they can file a separate lawsuit outside the workers’ compensation system against this party AND still have a workers compensation claim.
Also, in cases where employers lack the requisite workers’ compensation coverage for injured employees, the affected worker may have grounds for a civil personal injury case directly against their employer.
Beyond workers’ compensation benefits, injured workers may also have legal grounds for claims related to wrongful termination, intentional acts, Social Security, Long or Short Term Disability, Wage Theft claims, and various other potential claims. An attorney can be instrumental in identifying these potential rights and expediting the process, helping workers make informed decisions about pursuing them. When insurance companies dig in their heels and refuse to offer a reasonable settlement, an attorney can provide counsel on taking the case to trial. Insurance companies deploy well paid defense attorneys who are often paid hourly to obstruct and deny legitimate benefit claims. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can “level the playing field”, ensuring that injured workers receive the benefits they deserve and move on with their lives.
Taking the Next Step:
Choosing a competent work injury lawyer in Orange County can be your best move when navigating the intricate workers’ compensation system. To discuss your claim with award-winning attorney Thomas F. Martin, simply call us today at 714-547-5025. With over 30 years of experience, Thomas F. Martin, PLC, is here to guide you through the complexities and help you secure the benefits you rightfully deserve.
Documenting your workers’ compensation case is not just about securing the benefits you are owed now; it’s also about securing your future. With an experienced workers’ compensation attorney by your side, you’ll be guided through the intricate process, ensuring you receive the benefits you deserve.
The California workers’ compensation system has jurisdiction to address physical, internal and psychological injuries sustained on the job either due to a specific injury or caused because of the nature of the work duties over time.
Immediate Medical Care
Employers are required to provide medical care for work injuries WITHIN ONE DAY. Reporting your injury or condition to your employer will trigger access to $10,000 worth of medical care while the claim is being investigated. It is essential to attend all medical appointments so your injuries and conditions can be fully documented.
When treatment is completed
California’s Workers’ Compensation system utilizes various grids and charts to determine medical treatment and compensation. In complex cases, an attorney familiar with the system may be helpful to you while you are recovering from your injuries and conditions.
Finding The Right Attorney
Your choice of an attorney can affect the outcome of your case. Consider:
- The years of experience
- Whether the attorney limits his or her practice to workers’ compensation.
- Whether the attorney actually appears in court, or uses non-attorney “hearing representatives”
For inquiries pertaining to your workers’ comp case, don’t hesitate to connect with Thomas F. Martin, PLC. With 30 years of experience handling workers’ compensation cases, and by limiting his practice to handling only workers’ compensation cases, you will be in good hands.
He has been recognized as one of the “Best Attorneys” by esteemed publications like The Orange County Register, The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and Orange Coast Magazine. Additionally, many professional organizations have acknowledged his experience in work injury law.
Mr. Martin’s dedication extends beyond his legal practice. He has served as the President of the Orange County Chapter of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association, and he has been involved in various committees and the Board of Directors for various organizations.
His knowledge in the workers’ compensation field is valued, and he is often invited to speak at events, sharing insights on the latest laws and trends, and even training other lawyers.
If you need help with a work injury claim in Orange County, choosing a skilled attorney like Thomas F. Martin is crucial to ensure you receive all the benefits you deserve. Call 714-547-5025 or contact us online to schedule a free and private consultation.
Attorneys who handle workers’ compensation cases work on a contingency basis, meaning they only receive payment after they have secured benefits for their clients. If there is no recovery there is no fee. The fee structure for California workers’ comp lawyers typically is 15% fee of the total permanent disability award (which is considerably lower than the 33% to 40% charged by personal injury lawyers in Superior Court cases). Once a workers’ compensation settlement is reached and awarded to the injured worker, the fee will also be awarded at that time.
During the initial consultation with an experienced work injury attorney in Orange County, clients will learn about the workers’ compensation system and the state-approved fee retainer is signed by the injured worker at that time. The consultation is free of charge. If the employer takes the client’s deposition, the employer’s claims administrator pays your lawyer for the preparation and deposition time, not you. Additionally, the claims administrator pays all medical expenses, including treatment, medical evaluations, diagnostic tests, reports, interpreter services, and other medically related services.
In addition to helping you secure benefits for your work injury, a skilled workers’ comp attorney can also provide valuable guidance and support throughout the entire process. For example, similar to a “tour guide”, they can help you understand your rights, answer any questions you may have, and provide legal representation along the way, including appearances at court. They can also work with medical professionals to gather the necessary evidence to support your claim and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. With an experienced and effective attorney by your side, you can feel confident that your interests are being protected and that you have the best chance of securing the benefits you deserve for your work injury.
It’s important to note that while the 15% fee structure is standard for most workers’ compensation cases, it can occasionally be more or less depending on the unique issues involved. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a knowledgeable work injury attorney who is familiar with the laws and regulations in your state and can explain the very rare exceptions to the usual 15% fee to you. For example, in a simple uncontested case, the fee may be less than 15%, whereas in a very complex case involving extensive litigation may be slightly more than 15%. All of this should be discussed ahead of time.
To ensure that clients receive all the benefits they are entitled to, it is crucial to choose a competent work injury lawyer in Orange County. Award-winning attorney Thomas F. Martin offers free and confidential consultations to discuss clients’ claims. To schedule a consultation, call 714-547-5025 or reach out online.
Accidents and injuries can happen in any workplace, but what happens when an employee in California gets injured due to their employer’s actions or negligence? In such cases, injured workers may have grounds to sue their employer for damages. Below are four scenarios where an injured worker in California can pursue a lawsuit against their employer.
- Willful physical assault by the employer
If an employer intentionally physically assaults an employee, causing injury, the injured worker may have the right to sue their employer for the damages incurred. Willful physical assault is a serious offense, and victims deserve justice and compensation for their suffering.
- Fraudulent concealment aggravated the injury
In some cases, an employer may intentionally conceal information or mislead an employee, aggravating their injuries. For example, if an employer fails to disclose safety hazards or provides incorrect safety instructions, resulting in severe harm to the employee, the injured worker may have grounds to sue for damages based on fraudulent concealment.
- The injury was caused by a defective product manufactured by the employer
If an employee’s injury is caused by a defective product manufactured by their employer, they can file a product liability lawsuit. Employers have a responsibility to provide safe and properly functioning equipment and products to their employees. In cases where an employer’s defective product causes harm to an employee, they can seek compensation by pursuing a lawsuit against their employer.
- The employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance
In California, employers are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits to injured workers. However, if an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance or fails to provide the necessary coverage, the injured worker may have the right to sue their employer for damages. This allows them to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.
Generally, in California, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system designed to provide benefits to injured workers regardless of who is at fault for the injury. Workers’ compensation benefits typically cover medical expenses, disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation.
Even if an injured worker decides to sue their employer, they can still pursue workers’ compensation benefits alongside their lawsuit. However, it’s important to consult with an experienced Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer to navigate the legal process effectively and ensure the injured worker receives all the benefits they are entitled to. Contact Thomas F. Martin, PLC today to schedule a consultation.
If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, it is important to know that you have important legal rights under the Workers’ Compensation system. A workers’ comp attorney can help ensure that you receive the medical treatment, wage replacement, and other benefits you are entitled to. Common work injuries include back and neck injuries, fractures, and head and brain injuries. Fatal injuries also occur on the job, with falls being the most common cause of construction worker deaths. In California, the maximum period of time a worker can be paid Temporary Total Disability is two years, with some exceptions.
Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney can be a game changer for an injured worker. These attorneys have the experience and knowledge to navigate the complicated process of filing a claim, negotiating with insurance adjusters, and representing their clients in court if necessary so you can focus on healing.
Workers’ compensation attorneys can also help employees who have pre-existing conditions aggravated by work-related activities. If you have a pre-existing condition that was made worse by your job duties, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the claims process and ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. Additionally, if your employer disputes your claim or you have any concerns about the fairness of the process, a workers’ comp attorney can advocate for you and protect your rights.
When choosing a workers’ comp attorney, it’s important to look for someone with experience in the specific type of injury and industry in question. A skilled attorney will know how to assess the value of a claim, gather the necessary medical evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure their clients receive the maximum amount of benefits available under the law. Additionally, an attorney can help protect an injured worker’s rights if their employer retaliates against them for filing a claim or if they experience any other form of discrimination.
If you have been denied benefits or are experiencing retaliation from your employer for filing a workers’ comp claim, it is important to consult with an attorney. A competent workers’ comp lawyer, like award-winning attorney Thomas F. Martin, can help you receive all of the benefits you deserve. Call 714-547-5025 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation.
With every workers’ comp lawyer promising to help you win your case, how do you know which one to hire? What sets a workers’ comp lawyer apart from the rest? Here are a few characteristics injured workers should look for in a workers’ comp lawyer before making their selection.
Specialization in workers’ comp
The best workers’ comp lawyers specialize in the field and can confidently call themselves experts in workers comp. Thomas F. Martin, PLC has over 20 years of experience representing injured workers in workers’ comp cases and has deliberately chosen to limit his practice to this one field. This specialization allows him to stay up to date on the latest developments and changes in workers’ comp law. As a result, clients can rest assured Thomas F. Martin has the specialized knowledge and expertise they need to win.
Honesty and integrity
Honest and trustworthy workers’ comp attorneys are committed to collecting evidence that is credible, accurate, and relevant. In addition, an honest attorney has built a reputation among colleagues, judges, and the local legal community, bringing another level of credibility to every case he or she presents. For injured workers, a workers’ comp attorney’s reputation is one characteristic that should be considered.
Awards and recognition
Thomas F. Martin, PLC has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. He has been included in “Best Attorneys” listings by The Orange County Register, The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Orange Coast Magazine, and numerous professional organizations. Martin also frequently lectures about the latest laws and trends in the workers’ compensation system. Thomas F. Martin, PLC is a well-recognized name that insurance companies can’t dismiss or ignore.
Experience judging workers’ comp cases
An attorney that has judged workers’ compensation cases for the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) has an insider view of how the system works and knows what it takes to analyze and prove a case to the WCAB. Thomas F. Martin has served as a Judge Pro Tem for the WCAB and had the authority to conduct a trial, and make and file a finding, opinion, order, decision, and award.
Before a case goes to court, a workers’ compensation attorney must lead multiple rounds of negotiations. It helps to know the tricks and tactics used by insurance companies to reduce the settlement. But when you’re being represented by Thomas F. Martin, PLC, rest assured he’s prepared for every move the opposite side will make.
Reach out to Thomas F. Martin PLC today to schedule a consultation and begin building your case.
Just because you’ve sustained an injury on the job doesn’t mean you should rush to hire a workers’ comp lawyer. Some claims are cut and dry and workers will have no trouble receiving the medical benefits and financial compensation they deserve. In other instances, however, injured employees will need the guidance and expertise of a workers’ comp lawyer in Orange County.
The claim is denied
Insurance companies will look for reasons to deny a workers comp claim. They may claim the injury wasn’t work-related or that the worker missed the deadline for filing the claim. Workers may appeal the denial through the state’s workers’ compensation system but would need a lawyer to guide them through the process of filing paperwork, gathering evidence, and presenting the case at a hearing.
The permanent disability rating is disputed
The majority of workers’ comp settlements and awards are for permanent disability benefits, which are calculated using a permanent disability rating. If the insurance company doesn’t agree with the rating determined by the worker’s physician, they may require the worker to attend an independent medical examination (IME) with a physician of their choosing. This physician will likely provide a lower disability rating and the insurance company will use this rating to lower the amount of benefits being paid.
The worker has a preexisting condition
Injured workers who have a preexisting condition may struggle to prove the injury was work-related. The insurance company will blame the injury on the previous condition to deny benefits.
Difficulty obtaining treatment
If an injured worker needs an expensive surgery, the insurance company may deny or delay the approval of the medical procedure. In these instances, an experienced workers’ comp lawyer will put the necessary pressure on the insurance company to approve the treatment.
The worker’s ability to work is impaired
Some injured workers will not be able to work again, even after completing treatment, meaning they’ll need the maximum amount of workers’ comp benefits.
The worker is receiving other government benefits
Injured workers who are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits may see these benefits reduced if they start receiving workers’ comp benefits.
Upcoming workers’ comp hearing
If the insurance company refuses to give a fair settlement offer, the worker will need to present their case at a hearing. In these situations, it’s critical to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who will fight for the worker’s rights.