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Not Just For Veterans: PTSD Happens and So Should Workers’ Comp

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is real; in fact, it affects a number of working Americans.

According to the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 7.8% of the population will most likely experience PTSD — a direct opposition to their want to earn a living.

Until recent years, personal injury claims focused on physical and orthopedic injuries, such as industrial accidents or slips and falls. Changes in social attitudes and culture, however, resulted in an increase of workers experiencing mental stresses in the workplace. Among the different psychiatric diagnoses, PTSD is the one that receives higher compensation.

PTSD – An Overview

You don’t have to be a war veteran to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; anyone can have it. While the condition affects a number of military service members, it is not limited to that population only.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition, occurs when an individual witnesses a traumatic event. If the incident happened during work (or while an employee is acting in the scope of their job), their PTSD condition earns them qualifications for workers’ compensation.

People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder experience a variety of psychological symptoms. Everyone has different trauma responses; therefore, everyone will have different symptoms. In some cases, PTSD results in depression and mild anxiety. These workers may need periodic treatment, but can still work full-time after recovery.

Others, however, experience severe reactions that affect their regular jobs or personal relationships.

The Symptoms of PTSD

Diagnosis of PTSD happens after you experience the symptoms for at least a month after the traumatic event. Some symptoms, however, do not appear for several months or years later. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, PTSD has three main symptoms:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through distressing memories of the event, nightmares, and intrusive flashbacks
  • Difficulty in concentrating and sleeping; easily annoyed, irritated, or angered; feeling jumpy
  • Emotional numbness and intentionally avoiding people, places, or activities that serve as reminders of the trauma

Other mental symptoms include self-destructive or violent behavior, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Physical symptoms of PTSD, on the other hand, include ulcers, headaches, high blood pressure, vomiting, heart attacks, fatigue, or diarrhea.

Work-Related PTSD Happens

Most claims for workers’ compensation related to PTSD fall under two categories: PTSD due to traumatic experiences or due to out-of-work trauma caused by circumstances at work. Situations that might give rise to traumatic stress claims include the following:

  • Teachers who witness school shooting
  • Police officers, EMT, or firefighters who respond to gruesome or horrific situations
  • Construction workers who witness a co-workers’ injury or death
  • Occupations such as police officers and first responders are susceptible to traumatic events. Dangerous or high-stress environments place workers at higher risks for developing PTSD.

PTSD victims that clearly suffer due to work-related circumstances can easily file for workers’ comp claims. For those with PTSD due to out of work trauma cases, proving the claim will be more difficult. There should be a sufficient link between work conditions and your current symptoms.

PTSD can also be a standalone type of compensation claim or arise due to physical injuries. Often, victims of accidents easily recover from physical injuries, but the lingering PTSD condition can haunt them for years. The said employee then files compensation claims that include compensation for their injuries and the post-traumatic stress.

In some cases, the worker develops PTSD due to the injury; this is applicable to employees who witness an accident but was not in any way involved.

Proving Claims to Insurance Companies

When filing for traumatic stress-related workers’ comp claims, your allegations will receive thorough scrutiny. It’s common for fraud investigators to look into your personal life; they will determine if your PTSD symptoms are real and if the workplace is the culprit. Investigation strategies involve interviewing co-workers, checking credit reports, and reviewing mental health records.

Still, these processes shouldn’t stop you from filing PTSD claims. When you

Filing for the Workers’ Compensation Claim

The nature of your limitations determines the type of benefits you receive (permanent or temporary). Apart from covering lost wages, you are also entitled to the reimbursement of all your medical treatment’s costs. You also get the time off work until you fully recover.

If you believe you’re suffering from PTSD because of a workplace incident, talk to your doctor and employer immediately. Reporting workplace injuries follow strict deadlines; if you miss one, you might lose your right to receive compensation benefits.

Your doctor and/or employer will provide the necessary form to file compensation claims in your state. But apart from these people, you will also need guidance from an attorney.

That’s where we come in; Mays Law Office, LLC is happy to be of your assistance.

Why You Need Legal Assistance

When you sustain an injury while on the job, legal advice from skilled attorneys is a necessity. If you suffer from work-related PTSD, our qualified workers’ comp attorneys can help you with your case.

Understanding the complexities of PTSD and workers’ compensation can be difficult, but our team keeps you informed. We take you through the workers’ comp system in Wisconsin, including the allowable mental PTSD claims. Getting legal help also guarantees assistance in filing claims and appeals within the set deadlines set by the insurance company or you’re the state.

A Lawyer By Your Side

Our law firm doesn’t focus on just the physical injuries. Whether you suffered from an accident on the job or developed post traumatic stress due to repetitive trauma, our job is to assess your claim. Navigating through mental illness claims can be complicated; we assess your claim and determine the best course of action for your case. With Mays Law Office, LLC, we make no decisions without your full consent and cooperation.

Our firm also has the privilege of representing different kinds of workers— from nurses, police officers, carpenters, construction workers and business workers to laborers.

Moreover, we take pride in being proactive and successful in keeping insurance companies honest. What does this mean? We’ve had clients who deal with insurance companies who refused to pay benefits for injured workers. When you hire us, we show these companies the right way.

PTSD should not hamper your lifestyle, career, or rights as an employee. Get the claim you deserve by working with a workers’ comp attorney who understands your needs. Talk to us today and let us help you.

 

How Does Workers Compensation Work in Wisconsin?

Worker’s Compensation is a type of insurance that is designed to protect both employers and employees when someone is injured on the job. The process is simple. Each workplace is required to pay premiums to an insurance carrier. When an employee gets hurt on the job, they file a claim. Worker’s compensation pays the injured employee’s medical bills and compensates them for lost wages. Following is an explanation of how this program works in Wisconsin.

Eligibility

The first step to filing a claim is to determine whether or not you are eligible. Almost everyone in the state of Wisconsin is covered by worker’s compensation. The exceptions are

  • domestic workers such as maid, cooks, drivers, etc
  • some farm employees
  • volunteers as long as they don’t receive more than $10 per week in compensation
  • certified religious employees from qualified organizations

There are other worker’s compensation programs that cover federal employees, interstate railroads, and people who work on sea vessels. These employees would file claims through their own individual programs.

Filing

The next step is to notify your employer immediately if you are injured on the job. Delaying reporting the injury to your employer could result in your claim being denied, and could negatively impact your health. Even if you don’t think you need to see a doctor, you should still report the injury.
If you do incur medical bills, the employer notifies their insurance carrier, and the insurance carrier files all the appropriate paperwork with the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Division. The insurance carrier will write a check for any medical expenses and lost wages if you are off work for more than 3 days. The first 3 days are not covered unless your doctor orders you off work for 7 or more days.

Appeals

If your claim is denied either partly or in full, you still have options. Your claim can be reviewed by a specialist in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit (ADR), or you can request a formal hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. The next step is the Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) and then finally to circuit court.

Summary

The worker’s compensation program is designed to protect workers from injuries that happen on the job. The most important thing to remember is to notify your employer immediately if you get injured while you are working.

A Look Back on 2016’s Wins!

Mays Law Office had a very successful year litigating workers compensation claims on behalf of Wisconsin injured workers.  What follows are the highlights of some of Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays’ successes

Mays Law Office gets Kohl’s Employee Workers Compensation Benefits Immediately

Mays Law Office was pleased to get immediate benefits for a Kohl’s Department Store employee who injured herself at work.  

The Kohl’s employee was frustrated that her workers compensation benefits were denied despite her fall and injury being clearly depicted on store surveillance.  The Kohl’s employee hired Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays who conducted an investigation.  It was learned that a co-worker witnessed the injury and video surveillance recorded the fall.  Supportive medical proof was obtained by Mays Law Office and presented to the workers compensation insurance carrier. Attorney Pierobon Mays warned the insurance carrier that its continued denial of benefits was a mishandling of the claim.  In turn, the insurance carrier hired legal counsel.   

After reviewing the matter, opposing counsel advised the insurance carrier to pay benefits immediately (all lost time/wages and medical expense) and add an additional 10% for late payment in order to avoid any punitive actions.  Moreover, Mays Law Office also got the Kohl’s employee back to performing light-duty work while healing.  

Large Settlement for Wisconsin Nurse

Wisconsin nurse suffered a serious neck injury when transferring a disabled patient from bed to toilet.  Nurse required a three-level cervical fusion resulting in permanent work restrictions.  The employer was unable to offer the nurse work due to her restrictions. Employer’s workers compensation insurance accepted that nurse suffered a work injury with physical restrictions but claimed that nurse could still find work in the nursing field.  Nurse hired Mays Law Office to help her because she was unable to find gainful employment in the workforce.  Mays Law Office argued that nurse was 100% disabled and unable to work.  A hearing was scheduled but a few days before the hearing, the workers compensation insurance carrier settled the claim for approximately $300,000.  

Injured Landscaper Gets Full Benefits within 5 weeks of hiring Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays

Landscape worker injured his shoulder while working for a large Dane County landscaping company.  The injury was so serious that he required a total shoulder replacement.  However, when the Landscaper met with Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays he was frustrated that only minimal medical treatment and benefits were being paid by the workers compensation insurance company.  Attorney Pierobon Mays filed for a hearing claiming that the insurance carrier had no basis to be denying the full shoulder replacement noting that its own doctor accepted that such a surgery was necessary for the work-related injury.  Within 5 weeks of meeting and hiring Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays, Landscaper received all the benefits he was entitled, which included lost time, disability, medical expense, and medical mileage reimbursement.  Mays Law Office is now taking the claim one step further in 2017 and pursuing a claim for retraining as Landscaper can no longer perform heavy work due to his post-surgical restrictions.  

Mays Law Office Achieves Successful Settlement for Injured Technician

Technician works for a Wisconsin cable company.  In 2013, Technician suffers a slip and fall at work severally injuring his left shoulder.  The injury results in a full rotator cuff tear requiring surgery.  After surgery, the shoulder is severally disabled and permanent physical restrictions prevent Technician from returning to his job at the cable company or any level of physical work.  Insurance Company denies responsibility through its medical expert.

Technician seeks the help of Mays Law Office.  Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays pursues a claim for permanent disability, lost wages, medical expense, and Retraining for 2 years of school at Blackhawk Technical College.  A successful settlement is achieved for Technician when Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays finds flaws and inconsistencies in the report of the insurance company doctor.          

Mays Law Office Forces Insurance Company to Pay Due to Error by Its Doctor.

Injured worker Jason suffers a 2012 right knee injury while working for a large Wisconsin construction company.  Claim is accepted by insurance company and Jason undergoes 4.  Jason is sent to well-known Wisconsin adverse medical examiner in April 2015 who determines Jason is at a healing plateau, surgeries were reasonable and necessary, and decides that the total permanent disability rating is 7% to right knee with physical restrictions that employer cannot accommodate.  Jason thinks he needs to talk to Mays Law Office for such a small rating after 4 surgeries.       

Mays Law Office reviews the matter with Jason and immediately recognizes that the opinion of the insurance company’s doctor is legally wrong.  Mays Law Office sends a strongly worded letter to the workers compensation insurance company describing the law and offering a deadline date to correct before it will file a penalty claim.

Result – Within one week, the workers compensation carries hires defense counsel to fight Mays Law Office.  However, legal counsel advices the insurance company that Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays is completely correct and instructs the workers compensation insurance company to pay additional monies to Jason immediately.  

Over the next year, Mays Law Office continues to advocate on behalf of Jason and gets him an additional $100,000 plus for additional permanent disability, lost time, medical expense and the cost of retraining for different employment.  

Do not expect a motherly hug from the workers compensation insurance company

After a work injury, do not expect a motherly hug from the workers compensation insurance company.

While some injured workers are treated fairly in Wisconsin, most unfortunately are not. Most injured workers are treated rudely, even with skepticism as to whether they truly were hurt. One could even ask if Adjusters are trained to belittle the Wisconsin injured worker. Don’t put up with it, call Mays Law Office at (866)257-0440 for a free consultation and tips on what the workers compensation carrier won’t tell you, such as

  • You are entitled to 100% reimbursement for medical mileage to/from doctor and therapy appointments;
  • If you are getting a lost time benefit (also called TTD benefit), is the average weekly wage calculated correctly – most are not;
  • You can choose your own doctor/medical provider – never treat with the “company doctor”;
  • If instructed to see an IME or so-called “Independent Medical Examiner” there is nothing “independent” about this exam. You have rights on how to handle these insurance-paid exams;
  • Nurses assigned to attend your medical appointments do not have the automatic right to come into your exams or guide your medical treatment;
  • Employers have to offer you accommodating work that meets your physical restrictions while healing from a work injury, if not then a lost-time benefit needs to be paid to you for missing work;
  • If your injury is severe enough to cause permanent disability and you have lost your job, or an equivalent paying job, then likely you are eligible to pursue Retraining or a Loss of Earning Capacity Claim;
  • If your injury is severe enough that it leaves you disfigured, such as a serious scar, limp, amputation then you are entitled to an additional benefit called Disfigurement.

Be cautious – don’t let the workers compensation insurance carrier stall, claiming week after week that they are “investigating” your injury. Likely, if the claim takes more than two weeks to investigate then it will be denied. Call Mays Law Office immediately. Never accept a denial of your work injury without calling or E-mailing Mays Law Office first at lpmays@mayslaw.net

Report All Work Injuries

There is no doubt that employers HATE work injuries. So what is an injured worker to do…? Stay quiet about her injury for fear that her employer becomes angry at her and in retaliation reduces her hours, changes her duties to something undesirable, or makes the work environment hostile. OR should the injured worker report all work injuries immediately regardless of her employer’s response because if the injury turns out to be serious and requires medical treatment and lost time from work then she will need to have it covered under workers compensation?

Many injured workers wrongly take the wait-and see approach. With this approach, they hope that the pain or symptoms are no more than a mere strain or sprain and will improve after a few days. If not then they will worry about reporting it later.

While this wait-and-see approach may seem like a logical compromise, it will hurt the injured worker if the injury turns out to more serious than originally thought. Not reporting the accident promptly, allows the employer to question the workers credibility which could lead to denial of medical treatment, benefits for missed time from work, and loss of a monetary award based on the permanent injury. Moreover, your private health carrier may also deny coverage of medical treatment if claimed as a work injury as such treatment is the responsibility of the workers compensation insurance carrier. Now the worker is in a Catch 22 predicament.

What about if the employer has a policy requiring strict internal deadlines for reporting accidents, such as within 24 hours of the injury, which the worker deliberately did not follow? Now the employee can be reprimanded and her credibility and job security is jeopardized.

Ultimately, the injured worker needs to report a work injury to avoid this Catch 22 predicament. When reporting the injury, always do it in writing and get a copy of your written report. Every reputable employer has an Accident Report Form. If no form can be found, draft your own report. Details such as who, what, where, when, how, and why are easily remembered when describing the injury. Details such as dates and times are always crucial. Keep a photocopy of what you report to the employer. If the employer refuses to provide a copy, use your smart phone to take a picture of it. When it comes to a workers compensation injury, document, document, document! Keep a journal with dates, times, witnesses, specifics as to how the injury occurred, and medical appointments because your memory will fade over time. Again, smart phones have lots of apps to keep details documented for you, such as voice recorders, cameras, note taking, calendars, etc.

Even if you are late in reporting an injury, you should still follow these recommendations. Remember, better late than never.

Wisconsin law protects injured workers. Mays Law Office and Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays are here for you. Call for a free and immediate consultation. Everything we discuss is confidential. We proudly represent the Wisconsin injured worker. Click here to read testimonials from our clients.

After I suffer a work injury at work, when should I call an attorney?

At Mays Law Office, Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays is happy to talk to you at any time during the workers compensation process. However, there are crucial moments when you absolutely need to talk to us, such as:

  • Call an attorney if the employer refuses to believe that you were injured at work or refuses to file the accident claim with their workers compensation carrier;
  • Call an attorney if the employer fires you for reporting a work injury;
  • Call an attorney if two weeks passes after your work injury and you have received no benefits for either lost time from work or payment of your medical bills;
  • Call an attorney before going to any doctor appointment set up by the workers compensation carrier, especially if they claim it is an “Independent Medical Examination.” This is false and nothing about it is “independent” or fair.
  • Call an attorney if the workers compensation doctor disagrees with your doctor and the insurance company stops paying for your medical treatment or tells you to not follow the advice of your own doctor;
  • Call an attorney if you cannot work and now the workers compensation carrier is not paying you a lost time benefit;
  • Call an attorney if the workers compensation carrier wants you to sign a document in exchange for a money settlement;
  • Call an attorney if you have physical restrictions and can do some level of work but the employer refuses to allow you back and now the workers compensation carrier is not paying you a lost time benefit;
  • Call an attorney if your injury is so severe that you have concerns that you will never be well enough to return to the same type of employment.

Lastly, always feel welcome to call Mays Law Office at any time you have questions. At Mays Law office, you will talk to a Wisconsin attorney who concentrates their practice in representing injured workers. At Mays Law Office you will work with an attorney, not just an assistance or paralegal. Have a question, Call (608)257-0440 or Toll Free (866)257-0440 or E-mail lpmays@mayslaw.net

Lisa is Bright, Thorough, Informed, a Skilled Negotiator, Listens, Doesn’t Miss a Detail, and Isn’t Intimidated by the Process or Opposing Counsel

While working in my profession, I was hit in the hip by a car, causing a permanent mobility disability from the injuries in both legs. I was overwhelmed with the immediate physical changes in my daily life, worrying about the future impact, dealing with insurance companies, and coping with a robust range of related emotional aspects — stressful and exhausting! I needed to channel all of my energy into recovering as best I could. It was serendipity that I saw Lisa’s TV ad right when I felt the need to retain an attorney, when workers’ compensation decided they didn’t want to continue covering my ongoing medical care. The ad portrayed professionalism and specializing in workers’ compensation cases, so I trusted the choice to call her, even though I was a little skeptical, simply because of the feelings associated with being a victim. It was consistently clear to me from the first impression through settlement negotiations, that I was well represented. She made time for me, kept me involved in decision-making, and helped me feel grounded when the process made me feel bitter. The peace of mind that brings to a vulnerable injured person — as they say, priceless! Lisa is bright, thorough, informed, a skilled negotiator, listens, doesn’t miss a detail, and isn’t intimidated by the process or opposing counsel. My case was a complex pedestrian-vehicle accident that was also a workers’ comp. case — she had to juggle multiple perspectives, she kept my motor vehicle accident attorney informed and positioned to go on seamlessly to represent me well in the rest of the process. I was not only represented well, Lisa truly cared about me, my welfare. She’s simply the best! Without hesitation, I highly recommend Lisa Mays! — MJS, Ph.D.

Lisa Went Out of Her Way

Lisa was my lawyer against a company where I’d worked for 35 years, and was injured while at work on January 7, 2008. My injuries were significant and required several surgeries. My company told me I would always have a job, but that was not to be the case. Instead my company let me go in June of 2009.

It didn’t take long for the company to leave me to fend for myself. They told me to apply for unemployment, but then did everything they could to delay me from receiving my benefits.

I sought the help of Lisa Mays, who didn’t push me to sign on months earlier as other lawyers had. Lisa’s fees were also far less than other lawyers I had talked with.

Lisa went out of her way to make sure that the settlement that I received was fair and would aid me in the future financially. It didn’t stop with just the settlement. Lisa continues to answer my questions and to assist me with medical bills as well as to recommend another lawyer to assist me with obtaining Social Security Benefits.

I can’t thank Lisa enough for all that she has done for me and would highly recommend her services to anyone who requires assistance with a work related injury. -S.F.

Workers Compensation Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays

Helping people throughout Wisconsin with their workers compensation claims and litigation.Lisa Pierobon Mays - Wisconsin Workers Compensation Attorney

 

Mays Law Office is a Madison, Wisconsin law firm which dedicates a portion of its practice to helping victims of Wisconsin workplace accidents with workers compensation attorney services for claims and litigation.

Whether you have suffered injuries resulting from an accident on the job or have developed an occupational illness from repetitive trauma or exposure to hazardous elements, we will assess your claim and work with you to determine which course of action is best. No decisions will be made without your full consent and cooperation.

If you have been injured, you are entitled to Wisconsin workers compensation benefits that are designed to provide compensation for necessary and reasonable medical expenses, including:

  •  Doctor bills
  •  Hospital expenses
  •  Prescriptions
  •  Medical and surgical supplies
  •  Crutches
  •  Artificial limbs
  •  Rehabilitative therapy
  •  Wage loss and traveling expenses

We have had the privilege of representing all kinds of workers, from police officers, nurses, business owners, construction workers and carpenters, to truckers and all forms of laborers. We have enjoyed the satisfaction of winning money for almost all of our clients, such as a victory at a hearing against Walmart on a back injury claim suffered by a Walmart employee. This victory persuaded Walmart to not want to endure another hearing against Mays Law Office and settle the secondary claim involving a safety violation for unsafe work conditions which caused the back injury. Also, we forced a workers’ compensation insurance company to pay our client over $18,000.00 on a claim of bad faith for failing to pay workers’ compensation benefits on time.

Moreover, Mays Law Office has been extremely proactive and successful in keeping insurance companies “honest”, meaning we have had multiple clients hire us when the insurance company has, without proper basis, refused to pay benefits to the injured worker.  After Mays Law Office is hired, these insurance companies have issued payment of benefits.

Concerned about legal fees?

At Mays Law Office, LLC, we don’t collect compensation until you receive the workers compensation benefits to which you are rightfully entitled, such as monetary coverage of medical expenses incurred as a result of your injury, lost wages, permanent disability, and vocational rehabilitation and retraining.

To find out more about how we can help you with your Wisconsin workers’ compensation claim, contact Lisa Pierobon Mays at Mays Law Office for an immediate and free consultation.

Are There Any Exceptions To The General Rule That When Employees Are Injured At Work, They Receive Worker’s Compensation?

State workers’ compensation laws do provide exceptions to the rule that workers injured on the job are entitled to compensation. Each state is different, but the exceptions may include:

  • Denied compensation in those cases in which the employee’s injury results from his or her attempted suicide or homicide.
  • Denial of compensation to employees injured during the commission of crimes while on the job.
  • Dis-allowance of compensation for injuries at work that are the result of employees who are injured while engaged in unauthorized horseplay on the job, for those leaving the employers’ premises, or for other deviations from employment without the employers’ express approval for deviation.
  • Reduction of benefits in some states if the injury was caused by an incident in which the employee failed or refused to use safety appliances provided by the employer.