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Michele Susan Lewane
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Michele Lewane’s Answers

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  • If my doctor says my type of injury could take months to heal & then releases me only weeks later.Are these grounds for malpract

    The Dr. writes me a note for light duty & he tells me to do 4 weeks of therapy and return to his office & while doing so he claims to have released me to full duty but I was seeing his PA who gave me an additional 4 weeks of PT & after it recommen...

    Michele’s Answer

    In Virginia, a treating physican's opinion is given great weight. Also, the injured worker has to prove his case. You need a doctor to say the injury is causing your medical problems.You should get a copy of all of your medical records and PT notes and review them and have a workers comp attorney review them as well. You may want to get a 2nd opinion, but you would need to pay for the office visit out of your pocket.Maybe you could go back to him and get him to refer you to a pain management doctor and get that Dr to say current issues are due to your work accident.You need medical evidence to prove your case. You can go to my website and order my free book on Virginia Workers Comp for more information or talk to a workers comp attorney now.

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  • In va i have had 3 out of 4 drs tell me i needed a spinal fusion.can i get another opinion?cuz my lawyer said i can't.

    All four drs are workers comp drs.one was even a IME dr.so the last one that seen me said since my emg nerve test was normal i didnt need surgery and most people my age have. the common problem. with their back and i can go to work .it don't make ...

    Michele’s Answer

    There are many factors that go into this question. However, I will try to answer it but in general terms. First, your lawyer should have a copy of all your medical records. If not he should request them and follow-up to get the correct medical causation that you need from those doctors. Next, you can go to as many doctors as you want and get as many opinions as you want. Unfortunately, the longer I practice, I realize that very good doctors can have some very different medical treatment plans. In Virginia, you have to give the other side a copy of all the medical records. Thus, if you go to a doctor and he gives you a medical opinion, you don't like, the other side still get the copy of it. This is an issue of strategy as to where you should go and how many more medical opinions you should get. Workers comp insurance carrier will not pay for another medical opinion. You would have to pay for this out of your own pocket. You can request your medical records directly from the medical providers. They will be copy charges. If your lawyer gets the medical records, there will be copy charges as well, but based upon your agreement with the attorney you may not need to pay the attorney back until your case is settled. I am reading your question to mean that you want surgery and the last IME Dr. said you did not need the surgery and the insurance company is siding with the IME Dr. If this is correct, the strategy would be to go back to your original workers comp Dr. and see if he still says you need surgery after he reviews the EMG nerve test. Backs heal very slowly and the condition of your back changes over time, so if doctors a few years ago, said you need surgery,their opinion is not going to be given as much weight as a more recent medical opinion. Also, your workers comp treating physician's opinion will be given greater weight than an IME. At that point, the insurance company is still not going to voluntarily pay for the surgery, but you can request a hearing with the workers comp commission to order the insurance company to pay for the surgery. This is an evidentiary hearing. The injured worker has the burden of proof. So you have to prove more likely than not that the surgery is reasonable, necessary and related to your original work accident. The insurance company doesn't have to do anything. If you do not have your evidence together at the hearing, you will lose. You have to have an attorney with you to deal with this medical causation problem. You will need your attorney to get the correct medical causation in the correct legal terms in order for the commission to rule in your favor. I would talk to your lawyer and ask him what is the next strategy or options that you may have. You may not have the evidence to go to a hearing and you will need to pay out of pocket to get updated medical opinions, you may be able to go to a hearing or you may be able to settle your case.

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  • How do I file a Workman's Claim with my employer?

    I am in High School and work for at a pizza place with a boss who is not very kind. I fell at work in front of my boss and am going to the ER today because I think I sprang my ankle and wrist. I also can't afford not to work. Can I get compensat...

    Michele’s Answer

    Also make sure you get an out of work slip or light duty restrictions so you can show both of your employers.

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  • Can i get any money or settle with workman's comp do to broken ankle a fibula at work

    had two screws put in and might affect me from doing my daily job duties

    Michele’s Answer

    Yes, but to know exactly, we would need more specifics. Has the insurance carrier accepted your claim?Has the doctor said you are at maximum medical improvement and given you permanent work restrictions? Go get an intitial consulation( which is free) with a local workers comp attorney to get an idea of what you can expect in your particular case.

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  • Question about workers comp settlement.

    I am 43 years old. I injured my shoulder on the job in Sept 2011. I was sent for physically therapy first and then finally had surgery in May 2012 to repair a torn labrum. I continued in physical therapy until Jan 2013 at which time I reached MMI...

    Michele’s Answer

    Getting your permenenat partial disability benefits is a standard math formula and is definitely not a settlement. You need to look at future meds and future lost wages. I agree with my collegues that each case is different with many factors and you need to talk to an attorney. Also, rememeber that consultations are free so you can talk to a lawyer and get a full anaylsis of your particular case. Additionally, I have written a book which talks about settlement. You can order your free no obligation book at www.injuredworkerslawfirm.com.

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  • I had been on soc. sec. disability. Stopped my soc. sec. and went back to work. Had been working for 22 mos. when i got injured.

    Five mos . after accident could not use my arm properly . We had made out accident report at time of accident and had eye witness . Went to occupational dr . Had severely torn rotator cuff . Two surgeries followed along with about 80 sessions...

    Michele’s Answer

    I answered your other question, but this post gives more information. I do not think that you are "settling" your workers compensation claim. I believe you are receiving your permanent partial disability payments. If you settle your claim, the offsets apply as I said before.

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  • After i get my WC settlement how will SS adjust my former soc sec . benefits /

    I was injured in va . I live in KY .

    Michele’s Answer

    You definitely need to have a workers comp lawyer draft the settlement papers to protect your Social Security benefits- to minimize the offset/credit Social Security and Medicare will want from your workers comp settlement.

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  • What happens to an employee who has permanent restrictions to keep him from his job duties, and the employer closes the doors?

    Had lumbar fusion, will the IC have to pay wage differential on a future job that I'll have to take maybe for less money, or are they not obligated to do so? Thanks

    Michele’s Answer

    In Virginia, as long as you have restrictions keeping you from your preinjury job, the carrier will pay you 2/3rds difference up to 500 weeks. Since each state's workers comp laws are different, confirm with an Illinois attorney if the same rule applies there.

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  • WIll my attorney know what is going to happen at the final hearing?

    I am currently going through a workers compensation hearing and my final hearing is set for April 2. Will my attorney know what is going to happen before I go into the hearing? Will he know if I will be compensated or not for my injuries?

    Michele’s Answer

    I wish this was true! I would be a billionaire if I could see the future!! In all seriousness, your attorney should definitely know the process and procedures. I hope he knows the Commissioner as well.Talk to him about what to expect. In Virginia, a hearing is only 30 minutes and usually my client may be the only one to testify. You would want to know what questions he may ask you.Next, the attorney's job is to put forth the best evidence he can for you to win. The insurance company's lawyer's job is to put forth the best evidence he can for you to loose. Your attorney may be able to give you an estimate- most likely we will win, we have a 50/50 chance of winning, we will loose. In my cases , my estimate of my chances of winning at a hearing change constantly- we get a great causatin letter from the treating doctor, my client does terrible during his deposition, a witness comes forward in favor of my client, a 2nd opinion doctor says my client is faking his injuries...I could go on and on. Ask your attorney now what he thinks your chances of winning and ask again closer to the hearing. The bottomline is that even then he could be wrong. No one knows what and how evidence will be brought up at the hearing and how the judge will interprete that information. So even right before a hearing when I feel I will definitely win , I say we have a 95% chance of winning because you really never know.

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  • Can a company make you sign a document after they fire you in order for you to get you last 2 pay checks?

    I was a 1099 worker for an IL Company working in VA. I was let go in at the end of November. They wanted to pay me the next 2 pay checks but said I would have to sign an Non Disclosure Agreement and another document giving up any claim I have on t...

    Michele’s Answer

    Sounds like they were going to pay you 2 extra weeks to give up any potenetial claims.This is probably standard procedure for them. Possibly they thought you may sue them for discrimination , or a work accident or unemployment benefits. The real question is if you have a valid claim to sue them, it may be worth much more than 2 weeks pay. If they are withholding your last 2 paychecks that you actually worked for, then you can file a complaint with the labor board to get your wages. This is really an employmnet issue and not workers comp

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