Showing posts with label How to LOSE your case. Show all posts
Showing posts with label How to LOSE your case. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What is the #1 thing you should do when you are injured?

I cannot tell you how many calls we get on a daily basis from potential new clients who say that they did not report their claim. Sometimes they didn't report it for several days and sometimes they even go a couple weeks before saying anything to their supervisor. You jeopardize your chances of being covered under Workers' Compensation by not reporting your injury.

The reasons vary. Sometimes it's because they didn't want to get in trouble, sometimes it was because they didn't know who to report it to and sometimes because it happened outside normal business hours when the office staff was not available. But the number one reason why people say they didn't report their claim was because they didn't think it was a big deal and they believed that whatever they were feeling would go away in a couple days with some ice or rest.

No matter how small you believe something is, you should always report it immediately to your supervisor. Even if they do not fill out an injury report, you have told somebody in charge what is going on. If that pain in your back that you think is from lifting something wrong doesn't go away in a few days and it turns out to be a herniated disk; you reported it. If that knee that felt stiff from going up and down the ladder to many times today turns out to need therapy or possibly surgery; you reported it.

An injury isn't always a slip and fall, a laceration or something that is immediately apparent and requires emergency medical attention. An injury can be from repetitive motion, lifting incorrectly, bending over wrong or stepping out of a vehicle to quickly.

So whatever you feel, report your claim.

Blog posted by April Snow, Business Manager for the firm at Snow, Carpio & Weekley, PLC. 
For a free consultation, please call 602-532-0700 or 1-855-325-4781. Visit us on the web at

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Injured Worker's Duty to Inform Carrier of Surgery

Something we've run into recently on a couple of cases that bears mentioning here is the duty that a worker injured on the job in Arizona has to notify the employer's insurance carrier of a pending surgery at least 10 days before it takes place.  This general rule is true for any medical treatment for which the carrier may ultimately be responsible.  It is true even if the carrier has denied your claim or has closed out your accepted claim. 

Many of our clients who have denied or closed claims decide to go ahead and proceed with their surgery through their private health insurance rather than wait the 8-12 months that it can sometimes take to get a decision through the Industrial Commission.  That is fine - if the claim is ultimately accepted or reopened, the industrial carrier simply reimburses the private insurance company for bills they've paid.  However, if the injured worker fails to give the workers comp carrier adequate advance notice of the surgery, the carrier can be relieved of their liability to pay for the surgery or other treatment.  The rationale for this is that the carrier has a right to have the worker evaluated by a physician of their choosing prior to undergoing the surgery.  Think of your injured body part as "evidence" - they have a right to examine that evidence before you change it. 

If you fail to give adequate notice and the carrier is relieved of having to pay for the surgery, they may still be liable for compensation and other post-surgical expenses after the date that they are notified. 

Chad T. Snow is a workers (workmans) compensation attorney in Arizona.  He has offices in Phoenix and Tucson. He and his associates at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley can be reached at (602) 532-0700 or (520) 647-9000. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Do I Need to Answer Interrogatories in AZ Work Comp Case?

Many clients who are litigating their work injury claims in Arizona call us after they receive a large packet of information from the attorney representing the insurance carrier. One of the most intimidating contents of this packet are the "interrogatories", which are a series of (usually 25) written questions about the injury, witnesses, medical treatment received, and legal defenses/arguments that will be presented at hearing.

I rarely answer interrogatories for two reasons: (1) the insurance company's attorney will be taking your deposition (under oath) soon anyways so they can get the information verbally at that time; (2) they're a huge waste of time.

However, if the carrier's attorney insists on getting answers to the Interrogatories, it is always advisable to answer them. Sometimes, the attorney will ask the judge presiding over your case to issue an Order compelling you to answer the interrogatories. If you receive such an order from the judge, answer the interrogatories IMMEDIATELY. Failure to do so can result in your request for hearing being dismissed or the judge entering some other sanction against you, including having the pay the attorney's fees of the carrier's attorney for the time spent forcing you to answer.

If you have questions about Interrogatories that you've received, the deposition, or the hearing process or your workman's comp claim in general, please contact Snow, Carpio, and Weekley at (602) 532-0700 or (520) 647-9000.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Surveillance in Arizona Workers Comp Claims

Free legal advice for the day:  if you just told the insurance carrier's doctor that your low back pain keeps you from doing just about everything and that you rarely leave your bed, don't go home and teach a karate class in your front yard.  Or lift 100 pound pieces of flagstone.  Or go to Mexico and smoke pot on the beach before you play volleyball.  If you tell the carrier's attorney at your deposition that you haven't worked in months, don't go straight from the deposition to your landscaping job.  Or to your catering job.  If you tell the judge at your hearing that you have to use your cane at all times to walk, don't go to a quinceanera and dance. 

These are all true stories of workers' compensation clients of mine who have absolutely screwed up their cases by NOT TELLING THE TRUTH!!! All of these activities were caught on video surveillance by investigators hired by the insurance company in work comp claims.  Remember the old axiom that "a picture is worth a thousand words"?  Well, the insurance companies sure believe that because they spend a lot of money trying to prove what a lying dirtbag all injured workers are by showing that how they present in the doctor's office or in court isn't how they really act in public.  The mere fact that the people were doing these things isn't necessarily what killed their cases - it's the fact that they lie about it, or act one way in front of a judge or doctor, and another way when they think they're not being watched. 

Many of my clients are downright indignant that they are subjected to such a gross violation of their privacy.  But it's perfectly legal.  Remember that anything you do in public isn't private and is subject to being surveilled by an insurance company investigator. 

Chad T. Snow is a workers (workmans) compensation attorney in Phoenix and Tucson Arizona.  He and his other associates can be reached at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Drama Queens in Workers Comp Hearings

My piece of free legal advice today is:  don't be a drama queen at your Industrial Commission hearing, or ever in your workers compensation claim.  If your injury is legitimate, the doctors and judges will be able to tell by looking at the tests and examinations that have been done.  Don't feel like you have to embellish your symptoms to get someone to pay attention to you or take your injury seriously!  This only makes you unbelievable and makes it difficult for the judge, doctor, or other attorney to take your complaints seriously. 

I will give you an example:  recently I was in a hearing with a client with a low back injury.  I had warned him before he testified not to embellish or exaggerate his testimony because that is exactly what the doctors for the insurance carrier had said he was doing.  The first question I asked him was "Tell us your full name for the record."  He then started to tell his name, paused dramatically, grimaced, and said, grabbing his low back "I'm sorry judge, it's just that when I speak, my low back hurts."  I may as well have stopped wasting everyone's time at that point and just let the judge make his decision denying the applicant's claim.  Nowhere in the medical literature does it say that the vocal cords are connected to the lumbar spine or that the mere act of stating one's name should aggravate lumbar spine pain!  Many clients have lost their case because they felt that they had to be expecially dramatic to make an impression upon a judge or an IME doctor. 

So if you're in court at the Industrial Commission of Arizona, or if you're being examined by a doctor for a work injury, just be yourself.  Answer the questions truthfully.  Don't ever say your pain is a 10 out of 10 all day long and you never get out of bed.  Those people are not believable, and worse, are annoying! 

Chad T. Snow is a workman's compensation attorney in Phoenix and Tucson Arizona.  He has represented thousands of Arizona's injured workers in Social Security disability and Industrial Commission claims.  He can be reached at (520) 647-9000 or (602) 532-0700 or at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.