Employment Chat Archive

Date: November 8, 2005
Host: Gordon Reiselt

View Transcript | Archive Index For All Legal Chats

Negotiating the federal workers' compensation maze is one of the last things that most federal 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 attorneys Gordon Reiselt during the event. The one-hour chat begins at 9 PM ET on November 8th.

GORDON REISELT has been in private practice since 1974 and has been representing federal injured workers for approximately 10 years before the U.S. Department of Labor. Gordon is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor's Degree and a graduate of the Duquense University School of Law. He is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association, the New Mexico and Pennsylvania Bar Associations, the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association, the Allegany, Philadelphia, and the Albuquerque Bar Association.

Currently, Gordon's primary interest and concentration in the practice of law includes representation of Federal injured workers under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act and the Longshore Workers' Harbor Relief Act.

"I enjoy representing Federal injured workers because our legal system has created a void in representation for this particular group that needs to be filled," Gordon said. "The most important thing that I do in my job is to give solid advice to workers who are often in an injured and confused state."

Live Chat Transcript

ksw: "My question is this: If a "federal" employee is returning back to duty with light duty limitations given by doctor..does my employer have the right to make me work beyond those limitations?"

ksw: "Had a question pertaining to employers not complying with doc orders for employees under while on workmans comp being released to light duty"

kmmelanie: "Is my disability/workers compensation concedered marital assests in my divorce. I live in Florida does this effect how this is desided by the courts."

kmmelanie: "Is my husband intitled to any of my disability/workers compensation. I am totally disabled live in Fl."

kmmelanie: "I have been totally disabled for 20 years and my husband has been employed with the a company for 23 years and makes a greater amount of money than I do a month. Am I intitled to any alimony."

kmmelanie: "Is my disability/workers compensation concedered marital assests in my divorce. I live in Florida does this effect how this is desided by the courts."

clq35: "I have a date of injury/ilness of 4/4/03. I had bi-lat carpal tunnel release surgeries, went back to modified duty, still had problems with my arms, then went to another doctor, was off work again and had two more surgeries for bi-lat radial tunnel syndrome, returned to work still modified in aug 04. In Feb 05 I filed for a recurrence which was accepted, but did not include new symptoms of neck and shoulder pain. My doc took me off work on 7 Sept. but DOL wants a narrative report from the doc saying the recurrence of disability is work related. I got that report today. My problem is this: The doc said in the letter that it is medically probabal that I will not be able to continue my work as a transportation assistant and that at this time, because of my work related conditions (carpal tunnel, raidal tunnel, epocondolitis) I am not able to be gainfully employed. But on my PR2 he did not check off what I am to do, return to full duty, return to modified duty, or TTD. Like I said though in the narrative report he says I am medically unable to be gainfully employed. (That letter was for my attorney who is only handling my civil service disability retirement paperwork) He said that I am P&S and he cannot do anything more for me. Will worker's comp pay me until my retitement is approved? Am I entitled to a scheduled award?"

marijoe: "Hello, I need some advice.I was currently employed by the united states postal service. During my employment I suffered a back injury that was a month ago. I did file a claim for my injury. But I'm not receiving any comp.I'm currently seeking treatment for injury. Will about a week ago I received a letter of termination it states I'm being terminated due to unsatisfactory safety performance.Postal Inspectors question me about my injury.So my question is did I do the right thing by meeting with the PI's alone?I did meet with them alone because I don't have any money for an attorney and I have nothing to hide about my injury. People told me that I should of taking representation. But I'm a single parent with no money I can't afford and attorney.So my question is were they wrong on terminating me? If so what can I do about this?"

Gordon Reiselt: "It is 7:13 pm. I was late because I could not make the necessary connection. Please post your questions."

Gordon Reiselt: "Here are the questions that were posted: ksw: "My question is this: If a "federal" employee is returning back to duty with light duty limitations given by doctor..does my employer have the right to make me work beyond those limitations?""

Gordon Reiselt: "Certainly not. Your employer must adhere to your doctor's restrictions and you should also."

Gordon Reiselt: "The next qustion: "Is my disability/workers compensation concedered marital assests in my divorce. I live in Florida does this effect how this is desided by the courts.""

Gordon Reiselt: "In mosr states wc benefits are the sole and seperate property of the beneficary. You will need to check on this with a lawyer from Flordia."

Gordon Reiselt: "The next question: clq35: "I have a date of injury/ilness of 4/4/03. I had bi-lat carpal tunnel release surgeries, went back to modified duty, still had problems with my arms, then went to another doctor, was off work again and had two more surgeries for bi-lat radial tunnel syndrome, returned to work still modified in aug 04. In Feb 05 I filed for a recurrence which was accepted, but did not include new symptoms of neck and shoulder pain. My doc took me off work on 7 Sept. but DOL wants a narrative report from the doc saying the recurrence of disability is work related. I got that report today. My problem is this: The doc said in the letter that it is medically probabal that I will not be able to continue my work as a transportation assistant and that at this time, because of my work related conditions (carpal tunnel, raidal tunnel, epocondolitis) I am not able to be gainfully employed. But on my PR2 he did not check off what I am to do, return to full duty, return to modified duty, or TTD. Like I said though in the narrative report he says I am medically unable to be gainfully employed. (That letter was for my attorney who is only handling my civil service disability retirement paperwork) He said that I am P&S and he cannot do anything more for me. Will worker's comp pay me until my retitement is approved? Am I entitled to a scheduled award?""

Gordon Reiselt: "If DOL feels that your doctor's letter is not sufficient, they will either ask you for another letter or they will deny your benefits and you will have toappeal the decision. If you have an accepted condition, and you have a permanent condition, then you may apply for a schedule award so long as it does not run during the same time you are receiving wage loss compensation."

Gordon Reiselt: "Kmmelanie- do you have a question?"

kmmelanie: "Does wordker compensation/disability count as marital assests in the state of Florida"

Gordon Reiselt: "I just answered that. Usually WC benefits are the sole and seperate property of the beneficary, but laws differ from state to state and if you are not a federal employee, you will have to check that with a lawyer from Flordia."

Gordon Reiselt: "Does that answer it? Are you a federal employee?"

kmmelanie: "no I am not an employee."

Gordon Reiselt: "Well then you will have to check with a lawyer from Flordia."

Gordon Reiselt: "clp35, I have answered your question above. Read it before you post it again, ok?"

clq35: "Hi Gordon, I need to sit down and put my total situation together for you but formost on m y mind is this... My doc gave me a narrative report that says I cannot be gainfully employed because of an accepted, work related condion. He did not, however, check off a block on my pr2...."

clq35: "how do I see that answerabove?"

Gordon Reiselt: "Just scrool up on the side bar."

clq35: "anyway, where I left off.... he did not check off any block on the pr2 , either, return to work full duty, return to limited duty, or ttd...."

clq35: "sorry Gordon,there is nothing on the scroll bar,no up at all"

Gordon Reiselt: "Ok, if DOL does not find this acceptable, they will either ask you to supplement the report or they will deny your claim and you will have to file an appeal."

clq35: "but he did say on the narrative, that I am unable to work due to my work related condition. I filed a ca7 for time lost due to my accepted condition when my doc put me on ttd.... that was on 7 sep...."

clq35: "I have an attorney that is working on my fed disability retirement, but in the mean time aren't I entitled to a schedule award?"

Gordon Reiselt: "If you have an accepted work related condition to your arms, and your condition is permanent, you can apply for a schedule injury."

clq35: "and what do I do about the pr2? Doc said on the narrative that I cannot work, but who pays me between now and when if my retirement is approved?"

Gordon Reiselt: "I do not know what a pr2 is. What is it?"

clq35: "and when and how do I ask for the schedule award?"

clq35: "the pr2 is just the doc form I file every time I see him, with dol and injury comp"

clq35: "it's the form report that says what my symptoms are and what he did and what his reccomendations are"

Gordon Reiselt: "You use a CA7 along with a narrative from your doctor. The medical report must be written according to the AMA Guides to Permanent Impairments, 5th Editioin. Your doctor should know about this."

Gordon Reiselt: "Your doctor must express your impairments in a percentage."

clq35: "So I just tell the doc that I am filing for a schecule award and would he do a report for that?"

clq35: "Man! I just paid him $90 for a narrative report for the reply to dol for my compensation"

clq35: "do they reimburseme for that?"

Gordon Reiselt: "Show your doctor a copy of these questions and answers to your doctor. He/she can take over from there."

clq35: "ok, so what do I do in regards to my ca-7 claim for compensation?"

clq35: "just a ca-7n along with his narrative report?"

clq35: "I do so thank you for your help! It is awfull to be in the middle of this with nobody to turn to for answers! It just shouldn't be this complicated!"

kmmelanie: "I recieved a settlement from a company in PA , It was settled out of court and I was wanting to know since it was awarded to me only not to my husband and i if that could be split as marital assests."

Gordon Reiselt: "kmmelanie, sorry I could not help more, but your question is sepcific to the state of Flordia. Pleas follow up and contact a lawyer from your state."

kmmelanie: "thanks for your time!"

clq35: "sorry, I got the boot"

clq35: "I can't stay on, my hands and arms are hurting too badly to type......."

clq35: "but if you can email your answer to my situation to me that would be great!!!!! clq35@aol.com"

Gordon Reiselt: "Guys, I have to go in just 10 minutes. If you have any other questions, please let me know now."

clq35: "Gordon, can you answer mine?"

clq35: "I'm sorry Gordon, I really do have to go now I'm really in pain.... I'll try to come back next time you are here"

clq35: "thanks again!"

Gordon Reiselt: "Well, there may well be a problem with this connection clq35 and kmmelanie may not be able to post. It is now 7:59 pm MST and am must log off now. Again sorry for any problems you may have encountered this evening."

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