My doctor has not released me to go back to work because I am still injured and cannot perform my job duties. The judge at the appeals hearing extended appeals so I could get an attorney because she said my employer (UPS) will spend more money to fight paying disability or medical. I told the judge and their attorney I wasn't interested in receiving disability payments (which I need) as I am in getting treatment for my arm. My position requires continual lifting on up to 70lbs which I cannot do. I've been without disability since September. I only worked 15 hours a week at $9.00 hr so back disability is not much and I don't have money for an attorney. I have no medical insurance. What can I do?
Worker's Compensation rules and regulations are uniquely governed by state statutes--in your case, WA. In general, there are specific and absolute time limitations related as to how or when a Worker's Compensation claim for treatment and/or benefits must be filed and as to how or when a Worker's Compensation claim for treatment and/or benefits will expire, as a matter of law. Accordingly, you should immediately contact an WA attorney to review this matter, under the applicable WA Worker's Compensation laws.
By the way, most Worker's Compensation attorneys will not charge you a fee for an initial consultation. Furthermore, most Worker's Compensation attorneys will not charge you a fee for legally representing you in a case unless a recovery is made. In many states, however, the client is required to pay for the expenses incurred in a legal matter, separate and apart from the client's obligation to pay for any attorney fees. You should confirm whether or not this will be the case with your Worker's Compensation attorney during your initial consultation.
PLEASE NOTE: This response is not intended by the Responding Attorney to create, nor does it create, any ongoing duty for the Responding Attorney to respond to this or any other questions. This response does not form an attorney-client relationship with the Responding Attorney, nor is it intended to be anything other than a statement of the educated opinion of the Responding Attorney. This response should not be relied upon as legal advice from the Responding Attorney and is based solely upon the limited facts being provided to the Responding Attorney by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, this response might possibly change. Responding Attorney is licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio and, unless otherwise stated, this response is based solely upon Ohio law.
You do have money for an attorney. Workers compensation cases are handled on a contingency basis. The attorney does not get paid until the case is over. You need someone to guide you through this and you should consult a local attorney who handles workers compensation cases. Good luck.
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It sounds like you are no longer receiving benefits of any kind, your claim has been closed, and you have appealed to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. This is absolutely the time to consult a qualified workers' compensation attorney.
An attorney like myself will ask you questions about the status of your workers' compensation claim, what formal legal orders have been issue, when orders were issued, whether orders have become final or have been appealed, your employment status, your medical status, etc. Workers' compensation issues can be quite complicated.
If appropriate, an attorney might get a copy of your entire claim file to review it in detail. He or she will then be able to explain to you what is going on, what additional benefits you might be entitled to, and whether you would benefit from actually having an attorney represent you. This type of consultation and claim review should be done free of charge.
If you actually hire an attorney, his or her fee is likely to be a "contingent" fee, meaning the attorney gets a percentage of the additional benefits you receive. You should not have to pay an out-of-pocket attorney fee.
GRADY B. MARTIN
222 3RD Avenue North
Edmonds, WA 98020
phone: (425) 744-1220
facsimile: (425) 744-0464