Date: October 17, 2005
Host: Alan Garfinkel
View Transcript | Archive Index For All Legal Chats
Negotiating the workers' compensation maze is one of the last things that most employees expect to participate in. The maze offers plenty of challenges, not the least of which is recovering from the injury. Where do you turn, what should you do? Submit your questions to attorney Garfinkel on October 17th, at 9 PM ET.
ALAN GARFINKEL is one of the founders of Katzman Garfinkel & Berger, a statewide community association law firm in Florida. Mr. Garfinkel heads the Natural Disaster Law Department at KG & B which is responsible for securing multiple successful Federal Jury verdicts including the largest to date verdict against QBE Insurance Company. A graduate of Florida State University, Mr. Garfinkel is "AV-rated" by Martindale Hubbell (the highest possible rating) and is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, Florida Supreme Court and multiple Federal Courts. Lawyers in his firm are licensed to practice in multiple states including, Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Mr. Garfinkel's credentials may be reviewed at http://www.kgblawfirm.com
Live Chat Transcript
Denise LDC: "Hello and welcome to the Workers' Compensation chat with FL attorney Alan Garfinkel. The chat is scheduled to begin at 9 PM ET and last one hour. We will be taking questions based on the order of entry. Please prepare your question but do not submit it until I call on you. Thank you for joining us!"
Denise LDC: "Hi, Alan."
Denise LDC: "I start with the preposted questions."
Denise LDC: "badfingers: "Sir, I have an occupational exposure injury. I have nerve damage to four fingers on each hand. I initially went to the Doctor on 10-31-2001 for a back problem, and while there I mentioned a lump that bothered my on a finger. He thought it was a cyst. I ended up having surgery on Spet 20 2002, and eventually I had more fingers with problems after that, and he suspected the work I did caused the problems. I informed the employer the Corps of Engineers that I had a work comp case. They use the 10-31-2001 for the official "date of injury" but on the forms it asks for the "date you became aware of the connection of the injury to your job" and in occ. exposure cases they say that this should be used for the "date of injury" SO, the govt did a LWEC calculation after they couldnt accommodate my restrictions. In using the 10-31-2001 date it uses a lower rate of pay than what I feel should be used. If they used the rate of pay when I "became aware the the connection to the injury" it would be higher. Any advice? I have a telephone interview on Friday to appeal the decision. thanks in advance.""
Attorney Garfinkel: "Dear Badfingers"
Attorney Garfinkel: "I looks like they are using the right date of injury to me too unless your injury is called a cumulative trauma injury.. one that happens over time."
Attorney Garfinkel: "but the very latest day that the carrier can use for the injury date is the very last day that you worked for them prior to going on a workers compensation"
Attorney Garfinkel: "On a cummulative trauma injury, the carrier is to use the last day of injury exposure try that approac h during your interview it might work."
Attorney Garfinkel: "Denise lets do the next one"
Denise LDC: "diananana: "Workers comp insurance carrier send approval letter for artificial disc replacement (arthroplasty) of multi level disc of lumbar spine on 9/12/05 and then just today faxed a denial letter dated 10/15/05 stating the surgery is not FDA approved and considered experimental and therefor denied. Ironically, just a few days before this denial letter came there was a Newday article dated 10/11/05 talking about the surgery as being experimental and there wasn't enough long-term post-op info available because it is new and only been approved in this country since October 2004 although it's been done in Europe for 20 years. Can they change their mind after a month? Note: If I had been lucky enough to have had my surgery scheduled 2 weeks ago, the denial would have been a moot point.""
Attorney Garfinkel: "Diananana"
Attorney Garfinkel: "The laws for Workers Compensation medical treatment does provide the carriers with the option to deny all experimately medical treatment"
Denise LDC: "Hi, shay."
Denise LDC: "Please feel free to compose and submit your question."
Attorney Garfinkel: "get with your doctor to see if he/she can convience the carrier that the surgery is the best option for you. My experience is telling me that your crugery did not pass a precertificate process with the insurance company therefore that is the reason for your denial"
Attorney Garfinkel: "you still can appeal this with the courts to see if a Judge would consider ordering this specific surgery, or talk with your doctor about alternative surgeries. (sorry)"
Attorney Garfinkel: "Hi Shay"
Attorney Garfinkel: "Can I answer any questions for you this evening?"
Denise LDC: "Shay?"
Denise LDC: "Shay, if you are typing, please submit what you have composed so far - It will allow us to know that you're with us and for attorney Garfinkel to begin composing his comments."
Denise LDC: "Thanks."
shay1: "Hello Attorney Garfinkel & Denise. Sorry about the delay, but have been having electric surges in my home since the H-Ivan & my computer is giving me some problems. Just wanted to listen in to see if anything is brought up that help me with my problem."
Denise LDC: "What is the issue, shay?"
Attorney Garfinkel: "is your problems hurrican issues?"
shay1: "No, but I have those too. but I was injured at work in chemical fire & my attorney did not file petitions for my care, in the meantime I was fired, of course, but since the injuries are Hazardous chemical related, expensive case, I was told, no one wants to mess with case. But, still very sick. Was or still am State Certified Police Officer."
shay1: "Oh, and by the way, for your information. Since I have work for the State of Fl., there are conflicts everywhere, that is with attorneys representing someone affiliated with law enforcement or state agencies. I saw a number of docs on my own, my ins., that does state current health problems are cause of several dangeous chemicals. Ok, Thank-u very much. Yes, Denise, I copied the number."
Denise LDC: "Good."
Denise LDC: "Hello, privatetexan, welcome."
Denise LDC: "Feel free to key-in your question and submit."
Attorney Garfinkel: "hello"
privatetexan: "I was curious about the chat. My issue isn't workman's comp."
Denise LDC: "Okay."
privatetexan: "Is there a chat about mva's and settlements?"
Denise LDC: "It is a rather qwuiet night."
Denise LDC: "Whoops ... little off on the keying."
Denise LDC: "Try your question - attorney Garfinkel is familiar with PI issues."
Attorney Garfinkel: "I will take a stab at it for you..."
privatetexan: "Okay thanks. I was involved in a mva and I was curious if a bulging disc and nerve damage is considered soft tissue injury."
Attorney Garfinkel: "yes"
Attorney Garfinkel: "did you have surgery?"
privatetexan: "Thanks what I thought."
privatetexan: "No I didn't have surgery, just lots of pain."
privatetexan: "The orthopedic surgeon that I saw said that it was in fact bulging but not enough for surgery, just to be watchful of it."
Attorney Garfinkel: "keep treating"
privatetexan: "I appreciate you answering my question."
Attorney Garfinkel: "sure and have a nice evening"
privatetexan: "I am but the nerve damage has to heal on it's own."
privatetexan: "What kind of law do you practice?"
Attorney Garfinkel: "All types, PI WC and now hurricane claims, corporate law etc"
Attorney Garfinkel: "Thanks for your time this evening"
privatetexan: "Take care."
Denise LDC: "Thanks for joining us tonight."
shay1: "Thanks for the needed information. Have a good nite."
Denise LDC: "Alan, I'll see you back on Thursday -"
Denise LDC: "The time for the chat has been changed."
Denise LDC: "Have a good evening, everyone. And remember, if you need to find a lawyer, the Find a Lawyer directory is available for your use."
Denise LDC: "Good night."