Settlement was reached years ago. I'm 100% disabled. NO major problems with them paying the medical until about a year ago. Now, they're using every dirty trick possible to squirm out of paying these bills. I've tried to work with them, but it's become impossible and am concerned about making things worse. They definitely are not looking out for my best interest. Imagine that. SO, I need an attorney to take care of this. Can a general practice attorney do this or do I need a workman comp attorney. I'm concerned about time requirements that may run--according to them. THEY have also exacerbated an injury by their tactics. I definitely need the medical/prescriptions paid now and in the future. Any advise?
As someone who has been representing injured workers in workers' compensation disputes in Pinellas and Pasco County since 1985, I think Mr. Schwartz has hit the nail on the head. A lot, although not all, of the workers' compensation laws are substantive laws meaning that they apply only to certain dates of accident. When you say the settlement was reached years ago, I presume that you mean you settled your rights to workers' compensation disability money benefits but that settlement left open your rights to workers' compensation medical care benefits. Florida law changed effective January 1, 1994 to allow workers' compensation settlement to settle the right to future medical care in addition to the right to future money disability benefits. Prior to that time, a claimant (injured worker) was not allowed to settle his right to future medical care benefits even if he wanted to. Effective January 1, 1994 and again October 1, 2003, the Florida workers' compensation laws changed the burden for the claimant to prove what medical benefits he was entitled to. Your burden is easier if your workers' compensation accident was before October 1, 2003 and especially if it was before January 1, 1994. Like Mr. Schwartz said, I suggest you contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney who has experience with Florida workers' compensation cases under the laws as they existed in the late 1980s throughout the 1990s. A good place to start to find the right attorney is here on Avvo.
Disclaimer: The above does not constitute legal advice. It is the opinion of the author and is based upon facts which may be incomplete. No attorney/client relationship is formed by this discussion. You should consult an attorney with questions about your particular situation.
You should consult with a workers comp attorney regarding this matter.
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Workers' Compensation Lawyer
You should consult with a qualified workers' compensation attorney immediately.
You need a workers comp atty becuase it relates to a denial of benefits that are covered
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As the other attorneys have suggested, you should consult with an attorney who handles workers' compensation cases. Because your accident was 25 years ago and you require ongoing medical treatment which the carrier has apparently agreed to provide, a workers' compensation attorney knows the applicable statutes, rules or procedure and standards of proof to help you obtain the benefits you need. Best of luck.
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Workers' Compensation Lawyer
This is happening because the carrier wants to settle your claim for future medical. A wc lawyer should file a Petition for Benefits for all of your medical needs including a psychologist or psychiatrist if you have emotional problems related to your compensable injuries. Doing so will force them to comply or they will be forced to pay your lawyer if they drag their feet.
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Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Workers' compensation benefits are tied to the date of accident. So, whatever the substantive W/C law entitled you to 25 years ago when you had the accident is what would apply to your current disputes. Importantly, though, the W/C laws have changed dramatically since your accident took place. You should, therefor, contact an attorney who handles primarily (if not exclusively) workers' comp cases and has experience with older cases like yours. Most attorneys, even personal injury lawyers who take a few W/C here and there, are not likely going to have the depth of knowledge of the system to give you the best possible advice. Do your homework, and find someone as soon as possible.