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Do you need a lawyer at all in your workers’ compensation claim? Well, if it’s a small claim maybe not. If your employer takes care of you, is going to pay you and you’re quickly back to work, then you don’t, but a lot of times employers don’t do that. There are many, many good employers out there, but there are also bad ones, or workers’ compensation insurance companies that want to minimize the recovery to the employee and try to screw the employee over. So sometimes, they’ll try to not pay you the full ⅔ of your weekly wages under their TTD payments. They’ll say that you have a lesser wage or they’ll delay the payments. If you have missed more than three days, you’re entitled to ⅔ of your weekly wages.

The other thing the employer does is they’ll try to control the medical, and they’ll send you to doctors that say you aren’t really hurt or they’ll try to send you back to work early before you’re really ready to, or they’ll say you can go back with light duty when there really is no light duty and you have to go back full duty, or they’ll say that you really don’t need tests that you need, and they’ll just send you back to work and hope that you don’t complain and hope you don’t come back, and you need lawyers to help fight for this. We write letters and file hardships with the workers’ compensation division all the time to make our clients, to ensure that the clients get the medical that they need.

The other thing sometimes, there are good employers again, there are bad employers. Sometimes they’ll fire you or take adverse employment action against you. Either they’ll put you at another position or they’ll terminate you entirely. We have about three or four cases in litigation right now involving this.

They’ll also send you to a doctor, when they do treat you, that gets paid a lot of money to see insurance company clients, and what they do is they have a motivation to rate you low, and the rating is at the end of the case for your lump sum disability benefit rating at the end of the of the case, you’re rated, so it’s 2% of this body as a whole disability, 5% of your shoulder, that’s multiplied by the number of weeks of that area of the body times your average weekly wage. And what the company doctors do is they’ll say, “Oh, I did back surgery. I know he can’t walk that well, I know he has a walker, but he’s back to work. I’m going to give him a 1% disability.” Well, that’s bogus, that’s not fair.

So, what we do is we have doctors that we send you to, that are well-reputed, and that will look at you objectively and say, “You know, actually, he’s got a 30% disability, or a 50%, or this amount of his shoulder,” or we also send you to doctors and say, “You know what, he came to me, I would rate him but he needs another test,” and we’ve had many cases where you get another test, they find that it’s a labrum tear instead of a rotator cuff tear. They sent you back to work, but you have a herniated disc in your back. Your knee is done swelling but you still have popping, and lo and behold, you get an MRI and you have a torn meniscus or an ACL or an MCL problem, and then we make a demand on more medical and do that, so we fight on the medical as well.

And lastly the other way we fight and probably the most beneficial in many of the cases is we ensure at the end of the case, when we settle the case, you get 100% compensation for your injuries, not 50%, 40%. So we make sure both through the wage that you earn, the part of the body that’s being analyzed and the disability percentage that’s being used, that we maximize the value of your case, and we’re not afraid to mediate the case and try the case to get that. So we want to ensure that you get full compensation for your injuries.

Comp is pretty cheap already. You’re not going to get damages for pain and suffering, or disfigurement most of the time, or the real impacts: you can’t sleep at night, you’re up hurting, you’re worried about the future, you’re going to need another neck, back or knee surgery in ten years because you’re a heavy labor worker, so comp is frankly not going to fully compensate you, but that’s balanced with the idea that you don’t have to prove negligence against your employer, so I get it.

So what we’re going to do is we’re going to make sure you get the biggest disability payment at the end of your case that we can. That’s what you decide. We give you a recommendation, but you decide that. We’re always here for you. You’ll have my cellphone number. You can email me at [email protected]. You work with me and my team of lawyers on it. We don’t charge you a fee if we don’t get anything for you. We don’t charge any fee in anything we don’t fight for, so in a workers’ compensation claim, if you’re getting paid your TTD and we don’t have to fight for it, we don’t charge a fee on that. So there’s a lot of reasons why you ought to hire a lawyer in most workers’ compensation claims. I’ll meet with you for free, and if I can’t add value to your claim, I’ll tell you, “Go settle it yourself. You don’t need me.” Gary Burger at 314-542-2222, www.burgerlaw.com. We have a workers’ compensation page, and we have a workers’ compensation book on the website where you can get a lot of your questions answered. Thanks.

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