Questions about the Virginia ADR Process

Posted on Friday, February 5th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Who must attend mediation?

The injured worker must participate in the mediation, unless the dispute is between the medical provider and the employer. The insurance company needs to have someone who has the authority to settle the claim, and that usually means the insurance adjuster. Usually the adjuster will attend the mediation via speakerphone and the defense attorney will appear in person.

Injured workers and all representatives are not required to reach an agreement but they must negotiate in good faith. When an agreement cannot be reached, if the matter is contested, it will typically be placed on the docket for hearing.

 

How comfortable should I be about speaking during the mediation?

“Mediation is a confidential process. This means that the information that is shared during the mediation cannot be used by any of the participants in any subsequent court proceedings.” The mediator cannot be forced to appear at a later hearing to testify about what was said. The only information the Deputy Commissioner will have is that a mediation did take place, who was present and whether any agreements were reached. Mediations are not recorded or transcribed.

We have specific things that we counsel our clients to avoid saying. In fact, depending on the client, we usually advise that the client remain silent except insofar as a discussion with the attorney. There are exceptions to this rule.

We find that some clients, after all they have been through, feel the need to ‘get things off their chest’ during the private session portion of the mediation. In addition, some mediators are very good at utilizing client’s feelings to help get the case settled. This also provides a better measure of ‘closure’ for the client and is more emotionally satisfying. Even though it’s really about money, it is not always ONLY about the money.

Who will be my mediator?

“Commission mediators are all trained Commission staff who have been certified to mediate by the Supreme Court of Virginia.” A Deputy Commissioner (DC) will usually mediate your case. “These Deputy Commissioners are certified mediators with experience in workers’ compensation law. If a DC mediates your case, the same DC will be prohibited from hearing your case if the case ends up in court. This restriction is necessary to preserve the mediator’s neutrality in the process.”

 

Is the Employer Requesting a Mediation/ADR in Your Case? Contact a Lawyer Who Knows Virginia Mediation

Joe Miller has helped thousands of clients get the workers compensation benefits they deserve. He has participated in hundreds of mediations and is an expert at negotiating claims. He’ll make sure all proper claims are made and help you negotiate an excellent settlement with the workers compensation insurance company. Of course, if this is not possible, a hearing may be necessary. Call attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 and ask for Joe Miller, or email jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com

 

Mediation Review Form for Virginia Worker’s Compensation Cases

Posted on Friday, January 15th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

This is a form that reviews how well the mediator did. It reviews the mediator’s performance, case management features, and includes overall suggestions. Reviewers have the option of including their name and the date of the mediation.

Questions about the mediator’s performance include a 1 to 5 scale on the following topics.

Did the mediator….

 

  • Create a rapport with the parties?
  • Establish and keep control of the mediation process?
  • Use everyone’s time effectively?
  • Remain impartial?
  • Listen?

 

Other questions include:

  • What was your overall satisfaction rate?
  • Were the case scheduling and confirmation process handled effectively?
  • Were the mediation room and the facilities comfortable?
  • What overall suggestions do you have to better the mediator and the mediation process?

 

Virginia Injured Worker’s Attorney Joe Miller Knows the State Mediation Process

Attorney Joe Miller has been helping injured employees for over 25 years. This work includes mediating cases when possible. Mediation isn’t suggested until the worker has reached maximum medical improvement. Once the worker’s medical status for the future is known, a settlement may be possible. The settlement must include a lot of things because once the case is settled, there’s no do-over. The mediator helps the settlement process. Attorney Joe Milles has handled numerous mediations. He knows the pitfalls, and what must be done to get a strong result. Contact attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 to discuss your case or complete his online appointment form.

 

Workers’ Compensation Issues for Janitors and other Maintenance Workers

Posted on Friday, December 11th, 2015 at 3:17 pm    

Janitors and custodians perform a variety of tasks in retail, office, medical, public service and other settings that can cause an injury or an occupation illness. These are just some of the many types of accidents or illnesses my law firm handles for injured janitors and custodians:

  • Slip and Fall Accidents. Almost anything a janitor does can create a condition where a janitor might fall. Janitors routinely clean up wet spills and slippery surfaces. Equipment on the floor can cause a janitor to slip or trip. Objects from the shelves can fall or spill to the ground creating a dangerous condition.
  • Electric Shock. Many types of electric equipment such as power tools and floor buffers to carpet cleaners and fixing light bulbs can cause an electrical shock.
  • Repetitive stress injuries. Repetitive physical labor (pushing, pulling, lifting, etc.) can cause musculoskeletal injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome and injuries to the spine.
  • Toxic chemicals. Many cleaning solutions and products used to clean walls, floors, and shelves contain chemicals which can come into contact with the hands, face, arms and the rest of the body. When physical contact occurs or the worker breathes in the substances, a janitor or custodian can suffer rashes, respiratory problems, skin disorders and other serious complications including long-term diseases.
  • Lifting or moving something heavy. Contrary to popular belief, you do not always have to slip, trip or fall to have an “accident.” Even lifting or moving heavy trash bags or other items in the wrong way can sometimes cause an injury to the low back, neck or shoulder.

Call Virginia and North Carolina Injured Worker’s Lawyer Joe Miller if You Suffer Janitorial Related Injuries

Joe Miller Helps all types of injured workers including janitors, custodians and other maintenance personnel. He knows what type of accidents janitors suffer and what type of medical and wage loss relief they will need. He has the skills to aggressively handle your claim. Please call Virginia attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 and ask for me, Joe Miller, Esq. or complete my online contact form.

Why Health Care Workers Need Workers’ Compensation Help

Posted on Friday, December 4th, 2015 at 2:00 pm    

It’s easy to think that most work injuries happen to men and happen in work industry that involve heavy machinery and construction. The data from the US Department of Labor actually shows that healthcare work is the leading cause of work related injuries. For 2012, there were 621,100 work- related injuries in the United States that were related to health care and social assistance. The second leading group was fire and police. The transportation industry was third and construction was fourth.

As the population ages, it is expected the numbers of health care injuries will only increase.

In addition to musculoskeletal injuries, back and spine injuries; healthcare workers are also susceptible to chemical and biological harm. Injuries and diseases can be transmitted through infections, using a needle on patients and the exchange of blood.

Why are Health Care Injuries Complicated?

Many health employers and insurance companies will contest worker’s compensation claims because often a single incident does not cause the worker to be unable to work. Often, the health care worker suffers many small injuries that continually worsen his/her health until the worker just reaches the point where he or she cannot work anymore. The insurance company will try to argue that they only have to pay for single incident accidents or that factors outside of work also contributed to the worker’s poor health condition.

It is quite common for an employer or insurance company to try to rush the worker back to work before he or she is really ready.

Attorney Joe Miller Advocates for Injured Health Care Workers

Joe Miller has helped thousands of injured workers get their full benefits. He has been fighting for employees for over 25 years. The insurance company will try to limit your pay and try to get you to return to work before you are ready. If you suffered an injury or illness while helping patients, you may have a significant recovery coming your way. To get answers, call Lawyer Joe Miller today at 888-694-1671 and ask for me, Joe Miller, or email me at jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com.

How Do Brain Injuries Happen at Work?

Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 at 2:00 pm    

There are many reasons a person can suffer a traumatic brain injury at work. Many of these are due to some type of trauma such as:

  • Falling off a ladder or scaffold
  • Having an object fall on your head
  • A motor vehicle accident that occurs while you are working
  • Slipping and falling on a loose rug, a cracked pavement, a hole, or over some obstruction, or just not being able to see because of improper lighting.
  • Wind slamming a heavy door or other object into your head or face

The cause of the fall does not matter in North Carolina and Virginia Worker’s Compensation Claims. The key is that the worker was an employee at the time the incident occurred and that the onset of injury was due to a sudden, identifiable occurrence.

Brain injuries can also happen through diseases or when there is exposure to certain toxic chemicals.

Workers who suffer a work-related brain injury or illness often need extensive physical and occupational therapy. Many workers never return to the life they once knew and have lower abilities than they had before the work injury happened. The medical costs can be quite extensive. Workers may be out of work for a long time, may have to work at a less demanding job or may never return to work.

Brain Injuries at Work – Why you need a skilled Worker’s Compensation lawyer

Insurance companies try to get workers back to work before they are they ready. They will contest every aspect of your case if it means they will pay less money. Workers who suffer brain injuries need experienced worker’s compensation lawyers who will fight to get every dollar the law allows. North Carolina and Virginia lawyer Joe Miller has helped thousands of personal injury victims. He will fight the insurance companies. Phone Lawyer Joe Miller today at 888-694-1671 or complete his online contact form.

What Is the Medicare Set-Aside Requirement (MSA)?

Posted on Monday, July 20th, 2015 at 9:53 am    

Part and parcel of any settlement calculation of a workers’ compensation claim is figuring the costs of future medical care. Ideally, the calculations will be perfect and the money the insurance company pays for your medical care matches what you actually need during your lifetime. Often, though, the calculation is not correct and you end up needing more money for future medical bills than you planned.

If you are already a Medicare Recipient, or if you are close to becoming a Medicare recipient—for instance if you are above age 63 or you have applied for and are receiving Social Security Disability, then the law says you cannot ‘double dip.’ You cannot obtain money from workers comp to cover your future medical care and then turn around and expect Medicare—and the U.S. Taxpayer—to pay for that same care.

To make sure Medicare has some protection against paying for every future work injury medical bill when the workers compensation insurance carrier really should pay, in some cases workers’ compensation and Medicare law require that the parties to a workers’ compensation settlement prepare a Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) report. The report is usually several pages and is prepared by companies who analyze your medical treatment and doctor recommendations to make an estimate of the cost of your future care related to your work injuries. It attempts to calculate, in detail, the worker’s future medical bills. It includes an overall monetary figure. The report is usually prepared at the expense of the defense side.

As an example, a 35 year-old worker may have a severe back injury that prevents him/her from working. The worker figures that he needs a certain sum for the medications and treatments needed to keep the back from getting worse. 35 years later, it turns out there’s a new medical procedure that will cure or vastly improve the back pain. The worker would like to get Medicare to pay for the procedure because the money from the settlement has run out.

In the example of the 35-year-old who wants Medicare to pay for his/her back surgery at age 70, Medicare will look to see if an MSA report was required, if it was properly prepared and if it was properly submitted at the time of the worker’s compensation settlement – 35 years earlier. If the report was supposed to be filed and it wasn’t, then Medicare would likely disapprove the medical procedure because Medicare’s interests were not properly taken into account.

In some cases, for instance if you are a current Medicare recipient, it is required that the MSA be sent to a special office at Medicare first for approval. Once approved, assuming you follow the Medicare rules for properly putting aside your funds in an appropriate account this should offer good protection against running into any problems with Medicare going forward.

North Carolina and Virginia Injured Worker Attorney Joe Miller Knows Medicare Set Asides

At some point, the worker may outlive the settlement money’s ability to pay for future care related to his or her work injuries. To make sure the injured worker is able to then utilize Medicare benefits to take over paying for the care related to his or her work injuries, the Worker’s Compensation and Medicare requirements both have to be met. Virginia and North Carolina attorney Joe Miller knows both sets of requirements. He’ll review the laws with you. Please give us a call at Joe Miller Law at 888-694-1671 and ask for me, Joe Miller, or email me at jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com

The Role of the Employee’s Lawyer in Vocational Rehabilitation

Posted on Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 at 2:16 pm    

The employee is entitled to hire an attorney to represent his worker’s compensation cases. Our firm strongly suggests every claimant have qualified Virginia legal Workers Compensation counsel. The Guidelines from the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Commission directly address the role of the employee’s attorney as follows:

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Virginia Guidelines for– Meetings between Employee and the Job Counselor

Posted on Monday, June 29th, 2015 at 2:14 pm    

The Virginia Guidelines for meetings between the employee and the vocational rehabilitation counselor are regulated as follows: (more…)